Colorado is a valuable state for the study of natural history and in particular, dinosaurs and creatures from the Ice Age. Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison, CO is just twenty minutes west of Denver and has an amazing collection of fossils and footprints.
Known as The Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark, State Natural Area for paleontological and ecological significance and Point of Geological Interest, USA TODAY ranked Dinosaur Ridge as the 2009 outstanding free vacation venue in Colorado.
This part of Colorado used to be semi-tropical with floodplains and streams everywhere making it an excellent spot for the 150 million year old dinosaur bones to be encased in sandstone from the Late Jurassic Period. There are also 100 million year old dinosaur tracks on top of the sand and mudstone showcasing the pads and toes of 300 footprints and 37 track ways. Denver visitors are encouraged to admire and touch these fossils at Dinosaur Ridge.
Nearby there is also Triceratops Trail to discover, which has the natural sandstone casts of 68 million year old footprints. There are prints of triceratops, two types of birds, a mammal and a beetle. It is also speculated that there are prints from a Tyrannosaurus Rex and maybe an Edmontosaurus. Visitors will notice that there are plenty of plant casts similar to palms, monocots and ginger-like herbs because Colorado used to have a semi-tropical climate similar to Florida’s current climate.
Back at Dinosaur Ridge, visitors from Denver and out-of-state can visit the indoor Trek Through Time exhibit that walks through different environments at different prehistoric dates. There are murals of what the land may have looked like and fossils encased in glass of bones, plants and footprints. Kids can practice their paleontology skills in the Backyard Bones area and learn how excavating occurs. Don’t forget to hit up the gift shop on your way out!
For more information visit http://www.dinoridge.org