Just outside of Vernal Utah on the Green River is Dinosaur National Monument. While the monument has many adventures we'll explore in future posts, a great family friendly activity for kids of all ages is visiting the Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall. Even though summers in Vernal can be quite hot, an air two story air conditioned structure encases the building and allows you to view the bones from mulitple vantage points.
The number and quality of the bones visible in the quarry was both surprising and impressive. The quarry was found in the early 1900s and many dinosaur bones were excavated from the quarry and sent to be displayed at many museums across the country. The quarry is unique for the number of dinosaurs that are found in the quarry along with the completeness of the skeletons. Many different types of dinosaurs can be seen in the quarry, everything from plant eaters like Diplodocus to meat eaters like Allosaurus. A guide outlining all the different skeletons on the wall can be purchased for a small donation at the beginning of the exhibit.
There is no cost to visit the quarry, other than the typical entrance fee for a national park/monument, however, a ticket is required to enter the quarry. You can schedule tickets for the quarry by visiting the national park website at this link: https://www.nps.gov/dino/planyourvisit/quarryreservations.htm
To get to the quarry, park at the visitor center and enter in through the main doors. There is a film and some exhibits that explain more about the monument in case you arrive early. A shuttle will take you from the visitor center up to the quarry. To board the shuttle you will need to show your ticket. The ride from the visitor center to the quarry is less than five minutes. You can spend as much time at the quarry as you want and then you can hike back to the visitor center on one of the trails that go past other fossils, or you can take a shuttle back to the visitor center. A number of hiking trails can be explored from the quarry.
The Dinosaur quarry is just one of many potential adventures in Vernal. If you are spending a few days in Vernal you may want to take a scenic drive on some of the monument roads and visit Echo Park. Daily rafting trips are another fun activity and there are several rafting companies in Vernal that can guide you down the river. As always if you have any questions about the quarry leave a comment below or email me at DustinACook@gmail.com