UT Adventures: Dinosaur Park


I am trying my hand at our little adventure log this week. Usually, you get to hear great stories from Mrs. C., but due to my desire to help out more, this week you get me. Please…..hold the applause.

We had the opportunity to take the kids to Eccles Dinosaur Park in Ogden, Utah. We recently purchased annual passes for the Hogle Zoo, with a couple of intents. The first being able to go to the zoo. The second being able to take advantage of the partnerships with the zoo through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (Discounts, etc.). At one point, Dinosaur Park was free to AZA members on the first Thursday of the month. When we got there, we plunked down our zoo memberships and were promptly informed that they did not participate in that anymore. We were a little perplexed, as Mrs. C had called ahead to confirm that this was so. They told us that Hogle Zoo had decided not to participate in the partnership. Well, we were ready to head back to the car, when the manager told us that they would honor it. And there was much rejoicing.

When I was a young lad, there was nothing in the world that I wanted to be more than a paleontologist. I had dinosaur toys, dinosaur books, dinosaur models, dinosaur posters, er, you get the picture. I was completely obssessed. My favorite vacation, after Disneyland, was going out to the Dinosaur National Monument in Vernal, Utah. I could stand for hours just gazing a the quarry. All the while thinking, if I could just get past these barriers, I could have my own fossils. Oh, the bygone days of youth. Needless to say, I am not a paleontologist, but still love dinosaurs. I still have most of their names memorized.

They have some great fossil displays. The kids loved walking around this area and reading about the different fossils and rocks.

They also have an animatronic display upstairs. It’s a simulated standoff between a T-Rex and a Triceratops and her little ones. Simon was a little leery at first, when he thought they were real. He didn’t like the Rex’s roar one bit the first time he heard it and latched onto my leg, tightly. Later, he kept coming back into this room to watch them, his initial fear forgotten in a haze a curiousity. It was at this point, that we were inspired to watch the Jurassic Park series with Ethan, and so we did. After watching the movies, I remembered that I really wouldn’t want to see dinosaurs alive again. There is enough to worry about in this world, I think I can do without being eaten. Something else’s teeth are the last thing I want to be seeing when I die.

The next few pictures are of some the different display cases, some with fossils and some with rocks and minerals. The kids loved reading about the different displays. Especially Ethan, who is a rock hound.

Simon and Ryan trying to figure out how to get this stuff out, so they can play with it.

Apparently, this was the typical dinner setting in a dinosaur home at their most civilized. My question is, how did T-Rex get his little claws to hold the knife and fork to cut his Apatasaurus steak? Personally, I think the dinosaurs moved towards extinction when they took up smoking cigarettes. Notice the ashtray in the lower right corner.

These would be very painful to mistake as real treats. I particularly like the jelly beans agate. There are some amazing things in nature.

I had to fight off the Pteradon from carrying Ryan away. These displays are really awesome, but inspire me to ask, how do they know what colors the dinosaurs are or is that just artistic license?

This was the dino version of Hungry Hungry Hippos. Seriously, this is a little activity area for the kids. Ryan is enjoying making rubbings from the table. Simon likes the reveal-a-dinosaur panels with pictures and names. They have been adding new things to the park and it got a major upgrade a few years ago. There’s a lot more for the kids to do now.

This rhino apparently developed an addiction to Rogaine. Get a haircut!

A fossilized turtle shell.

Fossilized dino eggs. (I know what you were thinking! No these are not dino-pellets.)

Here is a photo of the kids out in front of the T-Rex replica outside. Simon walked off the photo shoot, when his demands for a bigger trailer and unlimited candy weren’t met. We all know who wears the pants in this family (or at least the sweat pants).

It was pretty cool that they had not yet taken down the Halloween decorations. These skeletons were all around this dinosaur. There was a group of people here that were in the process of pulling these down, but we got there in the nick of time.

This is Mrs. C’s favorite dinosaur, the Maiasaur. They fed mainly on their own young as observed above. They were one of the first dinosaurs to die out, go figure.

This rather large dinosaur is the Triceratops, my favorite. No, not the fat, hairy one in the front. That’s me. The one in the back with the three horns. This dinosaur was able to hold its own in the Dino Fight Club. T-Rex was intimidated by it, aren’t you? How do I know this? Because I was there. I witnessed it all.

The four older kids seem oblivious to the fact that they are about to be eaten by this hungry fellow. Simon is not caught unaware and fully understands what is about to happen. See how he is yelling out to warn his siblings or maybe he was planning on eating the dinosaur. With him, it’s impossible to know.

The fall colors in the trees and surrounding mountains were the perfect back drop for the dinos.

This dinosaur was gracious enough to hold its pose out of the water long enough for Mrs. C to take this picture. These dinosaurs were some of the best photo subjects I have ever seen, they hardly moved a muscle.

Fred, Wilma, Pebbles and Bam-Bam. Yabba-Dabba-Doo!

Get along little dino! Luken and Ryan wrangled them up a ride out of the park. They didn’t get far. He was the slowest transportation I have ever seen. At least they had fun applying the spurs.

I know what this looks like, but no, they are not coming out of this dinosaur’s butt.

While snapping this lovely picture of the three oldest boys, Simon went down feet first on his belly and was rewarded with a smack on the nose at the bottom. This was followed by a lot of blood and wailing. Ah, the joys of parenthood.

This is a pretty cool, little playground. The kids really enjoyed playing here before we left.

All in all, this was a fun trip and I think I enjoyed it as much as the kids. It had suspense, action, drama, comedy, and a little science fiction. Hey, anytime I am involved, there’s science fiction. Well, I guess you will be hearing more from me in the future. As always, life is an adventure.

Pura Vida!

Mr. C

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