Just 25 minutes from Downtown Denver is Dinosaur Ridge. Here, visitors can see real dinosaur fossils and learn about what ancient Colorado used to be like millions of years ago…
We were visiting my best friend Alicia (you may remember the post she wrote about camping in Utah) when she asked if we’d be interested in going to Dinosaur Ridge. Hell yeah!! I mean, who wouldn’t want to touch real fossils and see dinosaur footprints?
So we made the short drive from Denver and parked across the street from the Visitor Center. Before heading in, we stopped to take some pictures with the locals…
The Visitor Center itself is small, but it includes the Discovery Center which has some really cool exhibits as well as a simulated dig site, snacks, and a gift shop.
To see the really cool stuff, however, you gotta head back outside. Visitors have the option of taking a paid 45 minute shuttle tour or doing a free self guided tour. Because it was already late afternoon, we chose to do the self guided tour. If we’d had more time, we would’ve preferred to go with a guide because we always feel like you get more out of the experience. With that being said, there are over 15 detailed signs along the ridge, so we still felt like we knew exactly what we were looking at.
After seeing fossils in museums and books, it was super cool to finally be able to see them right there in front of us and even touch them. The bone quarry has fossils that are most likely from stegosaurus and apatosaurus and it’s interesting to find out how they got there. Learning about the geology of the area was really fascinating as well. Can you imagine seeing the earth shifting? Moving and creating whole new landscapes? It’s amazing!
And of course the coolest part is seeing the over 300 footprints left by various dinosaurs and one crocodile. According to their website, about half of the footprints are periodically colored with charcoal by volunteers to help make the footprints more visible to visitors.
We spent about an hour and a half at Dinosaur Ridge between checking out the Visitor and Discovery Center and walking along the ridge but could easily have spent more time there had we arrived earlier. It was a really fun place and we’re so glad Alicia recommended it! If you’d like more information on Dinosaur Ridge hours (they vary by season) and pricing, we recommend visiting their website.
Note: State and Federal laws prohibit collecting any fossils or rocks on Dinosaur Ridge. Preserving this site ensures future generations will be able to enjoy it as well. 🙂
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