The Dinosaur Depot Museum of Canon City, Colorado offers visitors a look into the past when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Canon City is located in the middle of Colorado, and just a bit south. Many residents of Colorado head to Canon City during the year to enjoy time away from the larger cities. The city itself is most famous for having 9 of the state and 4 of the federal prisons. It also sits on the Arkansas River, making it a great place for white water rafting and rock climbing. The Dinosaur Depot is just one of the attractions of Canon City, and it takes about a half a day to see the entire thing.
The location of Canon City has made it a rich geological area for fossils and rocks. The museum offers the world's most complete dinosaur, the Stegosaurus. While visiting the museum guests can also see Garden Park Fossil Area. This area has housed numerous fossils, which have been found in the last 125 years. Also nearby is the Skyline Drive Trackway in which most dinosaurs walked from the coast to the Western Interior.
The museum explains what the fossils are, how they were found, and what makes them significant. Guests can also speak with scientists who are working with fossils in the Preparation Lab. The Dinosaur Depot is open at different times throughout the year. From January 1st to May 29th the museum is open 10am to 4pm Wednesday to Sunday. May 30th to August 15th the hours are 10am to 4pm Sunday to Saturday. September 8th to December 24th the Museum is again open the Wednesday to Sunday schedule. After Christmas and until the 1st of January the museum is open each day from 10am to 4pm. Admission prices are $4 for adults, $2 for children, and 3 and under are free.
The featured exhibits begin with the Garden Park Fossil Area. This was originally 12 miles from Canon City along Shelf Road and Cripple Creek. However, the city has expanded somewhat making the park a little closer to homes and shopping. Three skeletons were found in this area which helped to create the Stegosaurus Stenops on display. The first of the three skeletons was sent to Washington DC's National Museum of Natural History in 1886. The second skeleton was discovered in 1937, and sits in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The 1992 skeleton that was uncovered in this corridor is the most complete and kept at the museum. It weighs over 13,000 pounds. The replica of the skeleton is on display as the original bones are studied and prepped for appearance.
From Skyline Drive are a number of other skeletons and features. A student of paleontology discovered dinosaur tracks along the drive, which have been molded for display. Many of the other species on display are from the Jurassic period, and sit in the "Skulls'' section of the museum. In fact there are five species that make up the display in this area.