Exploring Family Friendly Colorado Dinosaur Country

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Just outside of Grand Junction Colorado you’ll find yourself in the heart of Colorado dinosaur country. A great place to start learning about these fascinating prehistoric creatures is at the Museum of Western Colorado’s Dinosaur Journey Museum in nearby Fruita, Colorado.

Dinosaur Journey Museum

As you enter the museum you’ll be startled by growling, screeching and roaring. This is no quiet, sedate museum. As your eyes adjust to the dimmer light you’ll see huge skeletons and moving life-sized dinosaur replicas in natural-looking surroundings. Children love interacting with the displays, making the dinosaurs move, and learning the names of the creatures. They’ll be sure to find their favorite dinosaur there.


At Dinosaur Journey the life size dinosaurs move and make noises. Photo by: Elizabeth R Rose

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As you move from display to display you’ll follow the history of life in prehistoric western Colorado. There are actual fossils, as well as cast skeletons and those amazing robotic reconstructions to explore. Experience a simulated earthquake and a little quarry site where kids can uncover actual Jurassic dinosaur bones.

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Colorado Dinosaur Country

Colorado Dinosaur Country can be pretty scary! Photo by: Elizabeth R Rose

Through a window you can see paleontologists working on dinosaur bones in the laboratory, preparing them for display in the museum. On your way out, don’t forget to stop by the gift shop. I found some fun dinosaur souvenirs for my granddaughters.


Watch paleontologists at work. Photo by: Elizabeth R Rose

Colorado Dinosaur Country Hiking Trails

If you aren’t hooked on dinosaurs when you arrive at the museum, you’ll certainly be inspired to learn more after your visit. In the Grand Valley there are short hikes where dinosaur bones have been found. One Dinosaur Hiking Trail has 21 interpretive stops, including hands-on opportunities to touch dinosaur fossils. Ask for the brochure at the museum for directions and trail information.

From time to time Dinosaur Journey offers opportunities to take a day trip with a paleontologist and discover fossil treasures on a dinosaur quarry expedition.

Drive the Dinosaur Diamond Byway

If you want to delve fully into the history and lore of dinosaurs in Colorado Dinosaur Country, how about a road trip on the Dinosaur Diamond National Scenic Byway? Northwestern Colorado's Dinosaur Diamond Scenic and Historic Byway takes you through landscapes where immense dinosaurs once roamed. Dinosaurs were prolific in this area and have left their mark on the land in the form of fossils and footprints.

Grand Junction

While driving up to the mesa's edge we stopped to see a storm moving in over Grand Junction, Colorado. Photo by: Elizabeth R Rose

The Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway skirts Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and follows the Colorado River through deep canyons near Moab.

Dinosaur Day in Colorado Dinosaur Country

Once a year you can join an all-out celebration of Dinosaurs. Dinosaur Day, usually held in June, is a family-oriented celebration of the Grand Valley’s paleontological heritage. The Dinosaur Journey Museum is filled with special activities, games, crafts, and events as well as exciting sights and sounds that are all designed to reflect the area’s rich Dinosaur past. Dinosaur Day has been going on for over 30 years.

When You Go to Colorado Dinosaur Country

Dinosaur Journey Museum hours: October – April: Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sundays: Noon to 4 p.m. and May – September: Open daily: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is an admission fee. For more activities and lodging information, see Visit Grand Junction. If you need to stay in touch with family and friends while you travel, the messaging app GB WhatsApp is popular. If you have an android phone, you can click here for the GB WhatsApp download.

This experience was part of a Grand Circle tour provided by Southwest Adventure Tours and hosted by the members of the Grand Circle Association. While this has not influenced this content, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.



Written by Elizabeth Rose

Elizabeth Rose is back again in the Phoenix area after more than a decade living in New Mexico and Washington state. She travels throughout the West and beyond writing about destinations, accommodations, festivals, and restaurants, especially farm to table cuisine. As an expert in cultural tourism, her writing reflects that passion. She has won awards for her photography and accompanies her articles with her own images. She also provides photos for magazine covers, web sites and magazine articles (both print and online).

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    I have been there a couple of times and it is a fascinating adventure. Ms. Rose has described it well.

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