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Dinosaurs in Utah

Utah’s inhabitants of the distant past weren’t nearly as friendly as those of today. Featuring the world’s most complete exposed record of the earth’s geologic history, Utah is THE dinosaur state - a real life “Jurassic Park.

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Ogden's George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park is an eight-acre outdoor museum, unique in its exhibition of full-bodied creatures of the Dinosaur Age. See prehistoric crawlers, predators, marine creatures and flying reptiles dating from the Permian through Cretaceous periods. Realistic sculptures of more than 125 dinosaurs fill the park in a native Utah setting, all reproduced based on the findings of fossil skeletal remains. You can hear the dinosaurs walking and roaring, the crash of trees brought down by powerful herbivores and the calls of Pteranodons gliding through the air brought to you by a high quality sound system throughout the park. Also featured is a new 16,000 square foot working museum including exhibit space, a large paleontology laboratory, offices and a lecture hall. 801-393-DINO, www.dinosaurpark.org

The Natural History Museum of Utah at the Rio Tinto Center opened in 2011. This new copper-clad museum, set against the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, invites you to discover science through world-class exhibits that showcase Utah’s natural wonders, including newly discovered dinosaur specimens. The Canyon lobby features a three story Collections Wall, a topographical map, and remarkable views of the Salt Lake Valley. The Trailhead to Utah connects your visit to further explorations around the state. www.nhmu.utah.edu

Located at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, the is the world's largest collection of mounted dinosaur skeletons, exhibiting more than 60 mounted dinosaur specimens and thousands of ancient fossils. The museum also features a six story 70 mm movie screen and theater, featuring a variety of 3D movies and other specialty films. Fifty interactive, hands-on displays within the exhibit halls are designed to immerse guests in the subject matter, using expansive murals, soundtracks, plants and real streams with live fish. Guests are invited to touch actual fossils and feel real dinosaur bones and eggs. A working paleontology lab operated by Western Paleontology, Inc. is located within the museum and can be observed by guests as they tour the exhibit halls. 888-672-6040, www.thanksgivingp...

The Brigham Young University Museum of Paleontology in Provo is world-renowned for its extensive collections of late Jurassic and early Cretaceous dinosaurs, including Supersaurus, Torvosaurus and Utahraptor. Exhibits include the largest and smallest dinosaurs, a 150-million year-old Allosaurus egg, fossil plants, minerals and an array of dinosaur, pterosaur and Ice Age mammal skeletons. Observe paleontologists working the lab, touch dinosaur skin and watch videos of our scientists collecting in the field. Free admission. 801-422-3680, cpms.byu.edu/ESM

Museum Of Palentology

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The Uinta Fossil Journey begins in the museum rotunda where the giant Diplodocus skeleton, 90 feet from tip to tail, looms about and greets visitors. A rock wall contains a small ravine where visitors may try to distinguish fossils from among the washed out pebbles and debris. A dig site simulation illustrates the science and sequence of Jurassic fieldwork, including discovery and removal of fossils from rock. In the Fossil Lab, visitors can use a brush to reveal replicas of fossil pecimens. The Grand Jurassic Gallery reveals life 145 million years ago with three large and impressive dinosaur skeletons. The museum also includes special changing exhibits, a classroom facility and a new out-door dinosaur garden. 435-789-3799, www.stateparks.ut...

In 1909, 20 miles east of Vernal, paleontologist Earl Douglass discovered a 200-foot-long sandbar layered with prehistoric plant and animal fossils. A new quarry visitor center protects more than 1,500 dinosaur bones left exposed in the sandstone wall. Beyond the quarry, the monument offers trails, tours and activities which highlight the area's unique geology, history, wildlife and rugged beauty. The Split Mountain and Green River Campgrounds are located near the Quarry Visitor Center. 435-781-7700, www.nps.gov/dino

Dinosaur National Monument

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Created in 1997/98, this 512-mile diamond-shaped loop connects the cities of Vernal, Roosevelt, Price, Duchesne, Helper, Moab, and Green River in Utah; and the communities of Grand Junction, Fruita, Rangely, and Dinosaur in CO. Dig sites, museums, and scenery abound. The Utah sites are featured in this piece. www.dinosaurdiamo...

Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway

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This is the museum that discovered the Utahraptor, Utah’s adopted state dinosaur and unwitting star of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. The CEU Prehistoric Museum is one of four accredited museums in the state, and all specimens are either actual fossil or cast from fossils in the museum’s collection. The museum has eight complete skeletons from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, the bones of which may be seen on display. The collection also contains many dinosaur tracks removed from local coal mines, dinosaur eggs and other fossils. The CEU Prehistoric Museum currently operates ten dinosaur fossil quarries. This museum is a treasure trove of locally dug dinosaur bones! 800-817-9949, museum.ceu.edu

This quarry contains more Jurassic dinosaur bones per square yard than have been found anywhere else in the world! Bones of 74 individual dinosaurs have been excavated, of which 66% belong to the meat-eater Allosaurus, Utah’s official state fossil. Since 1928, over 12,000 bones have been excavated, with several thousand more yet to be uncovered. Having recently undergone a million-dollar renovation, the visitor center houses fossil exhibits and the quarry shelter features upper and lower observation platforms for close viewing. 435-636-3600, www.blm.gov/...

The Museum of the San Rafael in Castle Dale tells stories of a primitive past long buried under shifting soils. A replica of a fossilized dinosaur egg believed to contain an embryo is part of the collection, as well as skeletons of Allosaurus, Chasmosaurus, Albertosaurus and the great skull of Tyrannosaurus rex. 435-381-5252, www.castlecountry...

Museum of the San Rafael

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Dinosaur bone still encased in rock may be viewed in Mill Canyon by following a short nature trail near the Monitor and Merrimac mountain bike/jeep trail in Moab. This is a short, self-guided interpretive trail. There are signs along the way and you can pick up a brochure/guide at the Moab Field Office.

Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail

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Also known as the Dan O'Laurie Museum, this regional museum tells the story of Moab’s and Grand County's past, featuring an extensive rock and mineral display and massive dinosaur bones. Adults and children alike will love the museum's "hands-on" policy with many of the displays. 435-259-7985, www.discovermoab....

Museum of Moab - Moab, UT

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Skeletons, fossilized skin, eggs, footprints, state-of-the-art graphics and beautifully realistic sculptures present dinosaurs from the Four Corners region and throughout the world. You will see exhibits which show how dinosaurs were distributed globally, as well as the latest in dinosaur skin research. Enjoy the displays of dinosaur eggs from around the world and the baby Protoceratops and Maiasaura sculptures. The museum also contains a history hall of Hollywood dinosaur movies with movie memorabilia from the silent classics all the way through the high tech dinosaur movies of today. 435-678-3454, www.dinosaur-muse...

Grand Staircase-Escalante NM Interpretive Center Opened in 2006, this visitor center was built in the form of an ammonite fossil (ancestor of the modern-day nautilus) and features local fossils from the late Cretaceous, with many actual fossils to see and touch. The dinosaur garden outside features life-size metal dinosaur, bird and mammal sculptures. 435-675-3200, www.ut.blm.gov/...

Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument

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Newly discovered in February 2000, it has been described as the most significant dinosaur tracksite in western North America and houses some of the oldest and best preserved footprints in the world. Over 2,000 tracks, made by a variety of early Jurassic dinosaurs, are preserved in the exposed sandstone. The newly constructed shelter protects the tracks from the elements and houses fossil exhibits and a gift shop. www.dinotrax.com

St George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm

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