Besides offering one of the world’s largest collections of mounted dinosaurs, Utah is a trove of discovery sites.
The world’s most famous dinosaur fossil quarry is Dinosaur National Monument, where budding paleontologists can marvel at the nearly 1,500 bones and fossils still embedded in the rock face quarry wall and, in some places, actually touch the bones. From May through September, park rangers offer daily guided fossil discovery trail hikes.
Leave time to check out the monument’s many petroglyphs depicting human and animal figures from thousands of years ago. Though lesser known than the fossil beds, they offer another fascinating window to Utah’s ancient history.
The Quarry Exhibit Hall overlooks the site where many of the specimens in philanthropist Andrew Carnegie’s collection were first discovered, in 1909. Six years later, President Woodrow Wilson designated the area Dinosaur National Monument, and in 1938, the then-80-acre monument was expanded to cover a vast tract of 200,000 acres in Utah and Colorado.
Even today Dinosaur National Monument is an ongoing dig full of new discoveries. In 2010, a team of paleontologists discovered the remains of a previously unknown plant-eating dinosaur, abydosaurus mcintoshi, in the park’s 105-million-year-old Cedar Mountain Formation. The find included the only complete sauropod skull in the Western Hemisphere dating from the last 80 million years of the Age of Dinosaurs.
MORE SUMMER TRAVEL QUESTS
18) Touch a Dinosaur Bone in the Wild