Travel: Dinosaur Ridge

Though I thoroughly enjoy milling through history-filled museums, I find that some of the best exhibits can be found in nature.  The Morrison Fossil Area National Landmark, located in Morrison, Coloarado just west of Denver, is a rare find, one worth visiting.  It contains some of the best examples of open air, viewable fossils in North America: Dinosaur Ridge.  The ridge is one of the world’s most reknowned fossil locations.

In 1877, Arthur Lakes and company discovered the Dinosaur Ridge Bone Site which was first called Morrison Quarry Number Five.  It was in this quarry that the first Stegosaurus was discovered.  A visit to the  Morrison Natural History Museum will provide you an opportunity to see that original discovery.  Other discoveries at the bone site were Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, and Allosaurus.

Visitors to Dinosaur Ridge can touch and feel history as they make their way around a one and a half mile section of  Alameda Parkway.  There are hundreds of dinosaur tracks, a quarry of dinosaur bones, and some rather interesting geological features.  There are more than fifteen sites marked with interpretive signs.

The dinosaur tracks on the ridge were uncovered purely by accident during the construction of West Alameda Parkway in 1937.  Over 300 of these tracks have been identified and are periodically colored by using charcoal, to help visitors see the tracks in the sandstone.  The west side of Dinosaur Ridge features Jurassic Age evidence.  On the east side of the ridge, is located evidence of the Cretaceous Dakota formation including footprints of Iguanodon-like creatures.  Tracks of carnivorous theropod are also found on the east side.

Perhaps this summer would be a good time for you to make your own tracks…head out to Dinosaur Ridge.

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