I fell in love with dinosaurs at Dinosaur Valley State Park on the Paluxy River in Glen Rose, Texas when I was 32 years old. I thought dinosaurs were a boy thing and we had a 10 year old daughter. During the summers, we visited state parks for their historical value within a hundred mile radius of our home in Austin. Jerry taught eighth grade history and these excursions augmented his lessons.
|Amanda at Dinosaur Valley State Park, Glen Rose, Texas|
Fascinated, I learned along with Amanda about the theropod and sauropod tracks and saw the models of an Apatosaurus - meaning deceptive lizard (70 feet) and Tyrannosaurus (45 feet). I enjoyed the prehistoric stories and reading the controversies about man walking among the dinosaurs. Yes, I had heard of Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and the T-Rex, but now they were more than facts on a page.
As their collection and exhibits grew over the next two decades so did my enjoyment. I was still the proverbial "Kid in the candy shop." The movie Jurassic Park I & II are still fun to watch even with some of its wobbly paleontology.
Then Jerry and I retired and moved to Colorado. My days of Texas dinosaurs came to an end.
Colorado took the reins and guided me to the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center (RMDRC), west of Colorado Springs. The colorful, life-sized dinosaur statues of the Das[pletosaurus and Styracosaurus are awesome.
|Human & Daspletosaurus comparison by Robinson Kunz|
|Human & Styracosaurus comparison|
As if dinosaurs weren't enough, I moved on the prehistoric fish like the Xiphactinue audax.
|Xiphactinue audax with a Gillicus arcuatus in its stomach. Photo by Spacini|
These fossils were recovered in 1952 from Gove County, Kansas by George F. Sternberg (1883-1969). They are on display at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays, Kansas. It's estimated that they are "probably the most photographed fossil specimen in the world."
Other places in Colorado to visit dinosaurs. Websites after the cities.
Dinosaur Journey Museum—Fruita—Dinosaur Journey
This museum is devoted to hands-on experiences with robotic displays of the stegosaurus, triceratops and T-rex.
Dinosaur National Monument—Fossil Bone Quarry—DNM
Explore craggy hills embedded with fossils, rock art, and go whitewater rafting.
The Discovery Center features bones of the Stegosaurus and the Apatosaurus, plus the Backyard Bones Dinosaur Dig.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science—Denver—www.dmns.org
Visit Dinosaur Gulch in the Discovery Zone
Florissant Fossil Beds—Divide (near Cripple Creek)—FFBNM
Petrified redwood stumps with detailed fossils of insets and plants.
Picketwire Canyonlands—south of La Junta—PC
Explore the largest known set of dinosaur tracks in North America, Native American rock art, plus abundant wildlife.
Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience—Cañon City—RGDE
Features among other exciting experiences full-scale dinosaur fossil casts, hands-on experiences, skinned animatronic exhibits.
Triceratops Trail at Parfet Prehistoric Preserve—Golden—Triceratops Trail
The half-mile hiking trail is full of trace fossils.
For more Colorado places and links go to http://www.colorado.com/articles/where-see-dinosaurs-colorado
|Dinosaur Trackway near Morrison, CO. Photo courtesy of Mark Ryan|
In 2012, Science on NBC News called Colorado the Dinosaur Freeway after more than 350 "newly" discovered tracks made by various dinosaurs, crocodiles and pterosaurs were found. The Dinosaur Freeway goes from Boulder, Northeast Colorado, to Tucumcari in east central New Mexico.
On our first trip to Glen Rose I found a print-embedded small rock. The pathways to the outdoor exhibits had been graded before the park opened for the season. This marvelous little rock was cast into the grass on the shoulder. The director let me keep the rock because it was palm-sized.
|Photo by Linda Farmer Harris|
Do you have an interest that stayed hidden for a long time or a hobby that's recently emerged? Do you live near a dinosaur park?
I don't write Jurassic era historicals but my novella, The Lye Water Bride set in 1849 is included in The California Gold Rush Romance Collection (Barbour Publishing, August 1, 2016).
Join us on Tuesday, August 2 at 8PM - 10PM (CDT) for the Release Party of The California Gold Rush Romance Collection. We'll be giving away a Kindle Fire and a beautiful necklace as a grand prize, hear behind-the-scenes stories from some of the authors, and more.
Lin and her husband, Jerry, live on a hay and cattle ranch in Chimney Rock, Archuleta County, Colorado. Alas, no dinosaur remains have been found on our 129 acres.
Linda Farmer Harris
Turning Tidbits of History into Unforgettable Stories