August 31, 2012

8/27/12 - Dinosaur NM

Dinosaur National Monument is another place where I revisted my childhood.  I was 12 first time I went there.  I took my kids there in 1983.  Now I'm sharing with George. 
In 1909 a paleontologist discovered a rock layer full of dinosaur fossils that he excavated for the Carnegie Museum. 

About 1,500 of the fossilized bones have been partially exposed in the quarry wall, with the exhibit hall built around it.  The Dinosaur Quarry was the original "Jurassic Park"--this is the first dinosaur we saw!
The Exhibit Hall that my kids and I visited is no more.  The soil where they built it was a kind of clay that expands and contracts--not much good for building stability.  The walls cracked and split. It was closed in 2006 and rebuilt--opening just last year.  See how it's built right up against the quarry wall?


Personally, I think the original building plan was better.  The Visitor Center and Exhibit Hall are now in separate buildings, and the lab is going to be in Vernal. 
First stop is the VC, then you take a shuttle 1/4 mile to the quarry.  The original Exhibit Hall had ramps built closer to the quarry wall than this one does, with lots of info about the fossils and dinosaurs.  Apparently the low bidder for the interactive displays hasn't finished programming yet, so you haven't a clue what you're looking at.  Good thing there were a couple of volunteers around.

After we finished at the Quarry, we took the driving "Tour of the Tilted Rocks" to look at fascinating rock formations like Split Mountain.


As usual, we stopped for petroglyphs. It was pretty hot, so we didn't hike anything except very short trails.  (What a year--it took until the end of August for us to finally find summer!  No, wait!  I'm from Seattle so why should I expect more than 2 weeks of really hot weather???)

Here's the 6' lizard:
This one looks like a bouquet of flowers, but I'm pretty sure that's not what it represents.
And this one is pretty cool too.  Every time I look at it, I see something different.

Want to see more pictures?  Go to this link:  Dinosaur National Monument