Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dinosaur State Park

On a trip to Connecticut, we visited the Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill. What a magical place. The most unique aspect of the park is that the trackway which consists of an amazing fossil track is preserved in place and is a Registered Natural Landmark. 

In 1966, a bulldozer operator was excavating for a development of a state building, he turned over a slab and found there-toed footprints. The decision to preserve this site as a state park and the work to carefully excavate has made the Dinosaur State Park one of the largest on-site displays in the world.

The tracks are housed in the exhibit center which is open throughout the year and admission is charged to enter. Six dollars for adults and teens (13 and over), $2 for youth and free for children 5 and under.

The rest of the park which is free to explore. It provides nature trails over two miles highlighting the rich diversity the land has to offer. Beautiful and full of wonder at every turn, we were awe struck by seeing beautiful habitats with gorgeous maples, living creatures such as frogs, snakes, butterflies and amazing rocks. In addition to the hiking trails, the arboretum stretches 10 acres and is home to conifers, katsuras, ginkgoes, magnolias and other living representatives of plant families which appeared in the Age of Dinosaurs. They have a great representation of as many of the Mesozoic Era plants families as possible.

The two activities offered that made an unforgettable impression on our children was track Casting and Mining for fossils and gems. Track casting is offered from May-October weather permitting. Visitors must provide :

  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • Cloth rags and paper towels
  • 5-gallon plastic bucket
  • 10 pounds of Plaster-of-Paris (no substitutions).
Casts are large but make for a nice garden accent for home or for a for a display piece.

The Mining for minerals activity involves purchasing a bag of "mining rough" we were surprised to find our full of gems! This is a summer activity and a must do for any budding geologist. 

We also took part in the annual Dinosaur State Park day. The exhibit hall is free on this day and it is a very festive and fun event.  
If you are planning a trip to Connecticut, the Dinosaur State Park is a must see. 

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