Friday, October 26, 2007 ;
5:50 AM
Oct 23
George Eccles Dinosaur Park

After picking ds1 from school, we went off to the Eccles Dino Park in Ogden.

There are a couple of Dino Parks in Utah itself, maybe because many fossils were discovered within Utah, and many people like bringing kids to the mines themselves to dig up fossils or gems. It had been an activity I considered, since the websites had many testimonials from people and families who had dug up diamonds, gems, quartz and fossils from the mines and quarries. Also, after paying the admission/ digging fee, you can keep whatever you find. Unfortunately, since many of these mines and quarries are in southern Utah, we kept putting them off, thinking I've got the next summer to do it. Now we don't... so...

From the museums and books, I also learnt that some of the complete fossils found in Utah were new species that had not been discovered before, so they were named after Utah and the paleontologists who found them.

I brought them just before Halloween, so they had the whole park decked out in ghouls, pumpkins and skeletons too. Like the above RIP cemetery had many scary surprises hidden within.

Above right: Dracula as one of the "paleontologists" featured in the museum. :-)

We did the museum first, which had many fossils, skeletons and computers with info and history of dinos. Above left shows a triceratop with her baby beside. It was a movable dino complete with sounds, that was defending her babies against a T. Rex (not pictured) who was going to attack her babies.

Above right: ds1 was very curious abt the skeletal "guy" sitting in the wheelchair and asked if he was real, so I asked him to go say hi and shake his hand, see if he is real. :-) Sorry about the reflective strip on his jacket that reacted to my camera's flash.

Above left: fossil bone locator used by paleontologists to search for fossils in the field.

Above right: ancient fish fossil

Above left: ds2 with the dinos

Above right: the woolly mammoth

Above left: Is the T. Rex a scavenger or a predator? Scientists are arguing about this present their sides.

Above right: the gold sluice area where kids can pay to pan for gold. They also have real geodes which you can buy as a whole rock and they'll split it for you. Very beautiful and they come in all kinds of sizes and patterns.

Above: they left inflated "eyeballs" all over the place and ds1 kept playing with the eyeballs.

Then we went out to the park and viewed all the dino sculptures. so many of them! The interesting thing is, there were real animals roaming around the whole park too, with the dead dinos. So there were the geese and ducks (above left), fish and other birds, and rabbits hopping away freely. Below left: there is a black bunny nibbling on the grasses.

There are also depictions of battles amongst dinos and the casualties (above right). The boys seem to like that very much. humpph.

I also learnt something new. That the brontosaurus is actually an apatosaurus. Cos the person who discovered the "brontosaurus" bones, a Prof Marsh from Yale, tried to put it together and it was missing the skull and several other parts. He described it as the brontosaurus, but other scientists later found that it was just a large version of the apatosaurus that Marsh found. Some of the boys' dino books still have the name brontosaurus.

Just like some of their books still incorrectly list Pluto as a planet. Anyway...

Above left: the Deinonychus attacking by jumping/ flying up and digging its sharp claws into the bigger dino. Small, but very fierce, and not scared of dinos much larger than them.

Above right: aquatic dinos.

Above: Allosaurus and Diplodocus death fight.
After the information overload, more for me, cos I read all the exhibit signs while kids mainly just pretended to fight the various dinos, I let them role play at the sand pit.

The pit has sand covered fossils and various tools like brushes, picks, hammers and pails there for kids to pretend to be paleontologists.

Then we went to the silly areas, and tried out things like the Hide-Out Gulch, which is a trail walk through a dark and scary wooded area. They put lots of spider webs, spiders and scary stuff there. And ds1 took a picture of me under the sign "World's Most Dangerous Creature" and he laughed to no end upon viewing the pic he took. Grrrrrrr....

Then there was the playground, where the play structures were all dinos and other related animals.

There was also an area with blood smears, police tape and caution signs warning us not to enter. (part of Halloween). Below left.

The kids ended up spending a lot of time at this slide below too. It's a slide constructed within a petrified tree. So fun that I wanted to go on it too, but there were a couple of moms sitting there too, and I didn't want to make a fool of myself.

rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow

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