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Dinosaur State Park, Connecticut

Updated on February 3, 2017
LiteraryMind profile image

Exploring new places can be great fun especially when it's something a little different. When I find something interesting, I love to share

Dilophosaurus at Dinosaur State
Dilophosaurus at Dinosaur State | Source

Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill, Connecticut

Dinosaur State Park bills itself as one of the largest sites of dinosaur tracks in North America.

It's a wonderful museum for kids. The way the park is set up is pleasing to both adults and youngsters of all ages. It has a lot of information presented in a format that is detailed enough for an adult, but interesting to a child. There are a lot of interactive exhibits. The museum is small enough to go through in about and hour so the little ones won't get tired.

Dinosaur State Park is located in Rocky Hill, Connecticut and is easy to get to from Exit 23 of I-91. It's easy off -- easy on. There is ample parking and it is handicapped accessible. If you wish to bring lunch, there are picnic tables outdoors.

The grounds surrounding the museum dome is an arboretum containting over 250 labeled plants. There are also walking trails.

On Saturdays there are films as well as craft making activities for children. In season, there is casting allowed of the outdoor footprints.

And, oh yes, there is a gift shop with everything dinosaur you can think of.


Information On Dinosaur State Park

Entrance Sign to Dinosaur State Prk
Entrance Sign to Dinosaur State Prk | Source

This is the link to the Dinosaur State Park website. Here you can find the days and hours that they are opened. Directions and information on special crafts classes, lectures and directions.

DINOSAUR STATE PARK HOME PAGE

There are admission fees which are listed here. As with other Connecticut State Parks, admission is free to seniors over 65 years old who have obtained a Charter Oak Pass.

INFORMATION ON OBTAINING A CHARTER OAK PASS

The first display as you enter the museum is about the initial discovery of the footprints.

History of the Establishment of  Dinosaur State Park
History of the Establishment of Dinosaur State Park | Source

You will see a steam shovel bucket as you enter. This is the exhibit of how construction was started on State property and as the operator moved earth, he discovered the dinosaur footprints which are now the exhibit. Construction was stopped.

The first descriptive banner explains the history of the establishment of the museum and the the arboretum. A glimpse of the banner is shown in this module

You will find information on the Connecticut River Valley dinosaurs and rock formations

Rock-Formations-Layers
Rock-Formations-Layers | Source

You will see a geological description of the different layers of rocks and at what level the footprints were found. One section shows how the rock layers look where there is a rock fault.

Each layer of rock is labeled as to its composition and there is information about the time they were formed and how they were formed.

Across From the Rock Formations is an Interactive Display - Several Footprint Detective Quizzes -- fun for kids (and adults)!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Try and guess what kind of animal made what footprint.Here is the second Footprint Detective when you push the button and guess a wall sign lights up.   See the next picture.We selected "Bird" on the Footprint Detective and this sign lit up above usMore footprint detective information"Why No Bones" explains why bones were not found with the footprints.   Each is preserved under different conditions.A diorama of the creatures who lived at this timeA time line of which creatures lived in what period.
Try and guess what kind of animal made what footprint.
Try and guess what kind of animal made what footprint. | Source
Here is the second Footprint Detective when you push the button and guess a wall sign lights up.   See the next picture.
Here is the second Footprint Detective when you push the button and guess a wall sign lights up. See the next picture. | Source
We selected "Bird" on the Footprint Detective and this sign lit up above us
We selected "Bird" on the Footprint Detective and this sign lit up above us | Source
More footprint detective information
More footprint detective information | Source
"Why No Bones" explains why bones were not found with the footprints.   Each is preserved under different conditions.
"Why No Bones" explains why bones were not found with the footprints. Each is preserved under different conditions. | Source
A diorama of the creatures who lived at this time
A diorama of the creatures who lived at this time | Source
A time line of which creatures lived in what period.
A time line of which creatures lived in what period. | Source

The Trackway And Dilophosaurus - Dinosaur Footprints

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A view of the trackway and actual dinosaur footprints  A different view of the footprints.A third view of the footprintsThere are buttons you may push along the trackway and it lights up the footprints made by one animal.Here's another example of the path of one particular dinosaur lit up.Alongside the footprint display is a model of dilophosaurus --- believed to have made some of the footprints.The diorama surrounding the tracks has life size models of prehistoric crocodilians.Information on the trackwayInformation on life on a lake plain.This is the classroom where they conduct arts an crafts projects.    Look at their website to find the schedule for presentations and crafts.
A view of the trackway and actual dinosaur footprints
A view of the trackway and actual dinosaur footprints | Source
A different view of the footprints.
A different view of the footprints.
A third view of the footprints
A third view of the footprints
There are buttons you may push along the trackway and it lights up the footprints made by one animal.
There are buttons you may push along the trackway and it lights up the footprints made by one animal.
Here's another example of the path of one particular dinosaur lit up.
Here's another example of the path of one particular dinosaur lit up.
Alongside the footprint display is a model of dilophosaurus --- believed to have made some of the footprints.
Alongside the footprint display is a model of dilophosaurus --- believed to have made some of the footprints.
The diorama surrounding the tracks has life size models of prehistoric crocodilians.
The diorama surrounding the tracks has life size models of prehistoric crocodilians.
Information on the trackway
Information on the trackway
Information on life on a lake plain.
Information on life on a lake plain.
This is the classroom where they conduct arts an crafts projects.    Look at their website to find the schedule for presentations and crafts.
This is the classroom where they conduct arts an crafts projects. Look at their website to find the schedule for presentations and crafts.

The Arboretum And Outdoors - Bring Equipment To Cast Footprints

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This sign explains that the plants in the arboretum are modern counterparts of ancient plants.  A few of the plants and their labels.All the plants have label plates.Here is the entrance to the walking path along the nature trail.In season, you may make a cast of the footprints.   A list of what you need to bring (oil, rags, bucket and plaster of Paris) is on the Park's website.This is a view of the casting area.   This is December so the prints have covers over them.
This sign explains that the plants in the arboretum are modern counterparts of ancient plants.
This sign explains that the plants in the arboretum are modern counterparts of ancient plants. | Source
A few of the plants and their labels.
A few of the plants and their labels.
All the plants have label plates.
All the plants have label plates.
Here is the entrance to the walking path along the nature trail.
Here is the entrance to the walking path along the nature trail.
In season, you may make a cast of the footprints.   A list of what you need to bring (oil, rags, bucket and plaster of Paris) is on the Park's website.
In season, you may make a cast of the footprints. A list of what you need to bring (oil, rags, bucket and plaster of Paris) is on the Park's website.
This is a view of the casting area.   This is December so the prints have covers over them.
This is a view of the casting area. This is December so the prints have covers over them.

© 2011 Ellen Gregory

Do you know someone who loves dinosaurs? - Do you know someone who would enjoy Dinosaur Park?

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    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 

      6 years ago

      I very much love dinosaurs, and this park sounds super great. I've been to Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, and I love to see dinosaur fossils at museums. This place in CT would be perfect for me.

    • profile image

      crstnblue 

      7 years ago

      Oh, yes, that me! I always loved to read and watch documentaries about dinosaurs... they are a never-ending fascinating world to me!

    • LiteraryMind profile imageAUTHOR

      Ellen Gregory 

      7 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @Deadicated LM: I didn't know that. Exhibit wise, the Museum of Natural History has great dinosaur exhibits. Must have gone there at least 20 times as a kid.

    • profile image

      Deadicated LM 

      7 years ago

      I do, me! Did you know the duckbill dinosaur is a native New Yorker (or there abouts, he was probably a tri-stater, cause I know he also frequented NJ) back-in-the-day when New York and Morocco were neighbors.

    • caffimages profile image

      caffimages 

      7 years ago

      I do! A childhood fascination that never left me. I used to draw them, too! This lens is great. I wish I could visit!

    • angelsigh profile image

      angelsigh 

      7 years ago

      Great lens! We wanted to go to the Dinosaur Park but we just didn't make it while my son was stationed in Groton. Your lens allows me a glimpse into what we missed. Thank you :D

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 

      7 years ago from Connecticut

      The track way of fossilized footprints is worth the visit to Dinosaur State Park. In spite of all of these tracks, it is interesting that no dinosaur fossil bones have been found in Connecticut.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      I love dinosaurs...all my children did and so do my grandchildren! Luckily, I only had to learn all those pronunciations once and they sure have gotten a work out! Have to bless Dinosaur State Park, nicely presented and you have me wanting to visit!

    • FunMoneyBusiness profile image

      Sharyn Read 

      7 years ago from ... either in the kitchen or at my laptop...

      Wow! Thanks for helping me find another destination idea for my travel list of place to experience! The dinosaurs sounds great, but it's the arboretum I'd really love to see! (Thanks also for your lovely comments on my lens :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      in Utah, they have a great building with all sorts of goodies like your destination here too, enjoyed reading this tonight, thank you!

    • JackieSonia profile image

      JackieSonia 

      7 years ago

      What a great place to take your kids and grand-kids. Nice lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      7 years ago

      Never heard about this. Great lens. Very nice.

    • staymor profile image

      staymor 

      7 years ago

      Very cool subject matter!

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