Dinosaur National Monument
The area surrounding Vernal, Utah is known as Dinosaurland. It’s one of the best areas in the world to find dinosaur fossils and the Carnegie Quarry at Dinosaur National Monument is the largest find of Jurrasic-era fossils in the world (think raptors, stegosaurus, allosaurus,… all the big guys). Dinosaur bones from this quarry are displayed in museums throughout the world.
Today, a section of the quarry has been preserved and is known as the “Wall of Bones”. This section of the quarry has over 1500 dinosaur bones sticking out of the rock. It is amazing to see! For a sense of scale, most of the bones you can see in the photo here are nearly tall as a person.
This was such a wonder to see and leaves no doubt about the size and variety of the dinosaurs that once inhabited this area.
In addition to the fossils, the area has plenty of thousand-year-old petroglyphs and pictographs from the Fremont indians.
We spent our second full day in Vernal visiting two of the museums, the Uintah County Heritage Museum and the Utah Field House of Natural History.
The heritage museum is completely free and focuses on human artifacts from the area. Items range from indian pottery and arrowheads to 20th century conveniences. The kids enjoyed doing a scavenger hunt to find all the items on a list in return for a free sucker from the museum.
The Field House of Natural History is a must-see dinosaur museum. There are tons of fossils on display, plus a dinosaur garden with life-size dinosaur replicas.
Steinaker State Park
We stayed at Steinaker State Park while we visited Dinosaurland. We prefer state parks over private RV parks. They usually offer bigger spaces, are more spread out, less crowded, more “out in nature”, and usually cost a lot less. Steinaker was no exception. It was nearly empty while we were there and had great hiking trails and plenty of room for the kids to run around and explore.
Of course, we had to go hang out at the library for a couple hours to let the kids do some reading while we used the wifi to catch up on some work (and update this blog).