Dinosaur Ridge, Morrison, CO


Dinosaur Ridge is a non profit organization which allows visitors to learn about Colorado and its heritage. Dinosaur Ridge is located in Morrison, Colorado. Morrison is located in the center of the state, just a bit north of dead center. Historically the town has a long history with dinosaurs. In 1877 the first remains were found of a Stegosaurus Armatus and Apatosaurus Ajaz. Both were found near Arthur Lakes. In the 19th century "Bone Wars'' occurred as rival paleontologists Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh tried to discover and keep the bones they uncovered.

Eventually the late Jurassic area of Morrison was excavated near the lakes to see what could be found in honor of the town. Many of the fossils are found at the Morrison Natural History Museum in Morrison Houses and some are on display at the lakes. However, Dinosaur Ridge is also a place to see the numerous fossils the earth has revealed.

Dinosaur Ridge is a visitor center with two interpretive trails leading around the lake area. In 2008 the center received an upgrade with Trek Through Time, which is an indoor exhibit area for Dinosaur Ridge. The ridge has served to be a place for science teachers and explorers. The teachers created outdoor geology laboratories to teach their students.

The National Park Service had a hand in creating the park when they designated the area as the Morrison Fossil Area National Park in 1973. The park service felt the area was highly significant to history and science. In 2001 the state offered it as a State Natural Area for paleontological and ecological studies. In 2006 a Colorado Geological Survey designated Dinosaur Ridge and Triceratops Trail as points of Geological Interest.

Along Dinosaur Ridge many famous fossil discoveries were made. Some of those were mentioned above. Most of the species found along the ridge date to 150 million years ago in the period called the "Age of Giants.'' The ridge is part of the Rocky Mountain Region, in which a Dinosaur "Gold'' Rush occurred in the late 1800's. One interesting discovery was the Iguanodon plant eating dinosaur and the ostrich sized meat eating dinosaurs. It took until 2004 for the Dinosaur Ridge Triceratops Trail to be opened, allowing for more areas of discovery. Those walking along the trails will have an information pamphlet to tell them about the trail, fossils, tracks, and more.

The beginning of the trails and visitor center is located on Alameda Parkway. A gift shop on the premises is open Monday through Saturday 9am to 5pm, and Sunday 11am to 5pm. A shuttle bus will bring visitors to the park on Monday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm, and Sunday 11am to 4pm. The exhibit hall is open Monday through Saturday 10am to 4:30pm, and Sunday 11am to 4:30pm. As a nonprofit organization they look for donations, but do not charge an entry fee into the exhibit hall or for the trails. It is a nice place to go for a little outdoor fun and inexpensive time.

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