With the recent discovery of the world’s largest dinosaur in Argentina, it’s definitely paleontology’s time to shine. Fans of the Triassic period and Jurassic junkies alike will delight in the offerings of these exciting spots that bring history to life. For those looking to experience some prehistoric fun, here are 6 of the best dino destinations out there.
Dinosaur Provincial Park (Alberta, Canada)
Welcome to Dinosaur Provincial Park, population 40 species of dinosaur fossils…and you. Over 300 specimens have been uncovered herem but would-be palaeontologists may have to look elsewhere if they’re hoping to strike dinosaur gold, as digging is only permitted if you’re pro. Don’t let that discourage you, though, because there are plenty of other great things to do at this World Heritage Site. Outdoor exhibits, bus tours, fossil safaris, and nature hikes all make for action-packed days and high end campsites featuring beds, heating, and private decks ensure a restful night’s sleep. Check ahead to find out when digging season is, as the bulk of the park is off limits to visitors during this time.
Dinosaur National Monument (Dinosaur, Colorado)
With a name like Dinosaur, you know that this town’s prehistoric game is gonna be good. Prepare to be impressed by the 1,500 fossils embedded in rock or take a river rafting tour and try to picture what things looked like back when dinosaurs ran the show. Feeling smart? Try to decipher the petroglyphs or simply clear your head on a gorgeous hike. Should you find yourself unable to do everything you wanted to in one day, have no fear! Onsite camp grounds are a great place to rest up for day 2.
Dinosaur Valley State Park (Glen Rose, Texas)
They say that the best way to gain appreciation for someone else’s life is to walk a mile in their shoes. How about walking a mile in a dinosaur’s footprint instead? At Dinosaur Valley, incredibly preserved dinosaur tracks are scattered throughout the park and show impressive amounts of detail. Download maps ahead of time to find them all or see if you can discover them on your own. Other activities include horseback riding, mountain biking, rafting, and swimming. Still need something to do? The park is home to some geocaches so fire up your GPS and get hunting!
Parco Regionale delle Dolomiti Friulane (Dolomite Alps, Italy)
Discovered by students in 1994, the dinosaur tracks found on the Dolomitic boulder are over 200 million years old. Not only are they amazing to look at, they serve as evidence that dinosaurs did in fact roam the Italian peninsula, something that had hardly been considered 30 years ago. Check out the tracks in person and then head to the Museum of Nature South Tyrol where original exhibits and interactive features give visitors plenty to do.
Southern Sahara Desert (Niger)
Okay so this isn’t so much as a singular destination but a vast area that has a reputation for being a dinosaur hotbed. Two species (Eocarcharia dinops and Kryptops palaois) were discovered in the region in 2000, shedding new light on prehistoric life. Excavations that have been carried on over the years have yielded impressive results, making the Sahara a very important place for dinosaur buffs to know about.
Dinosaur Cove (Victoria, Australia)
Located in the South East, Dinosaur Cove is an inaccessible stretch of rock where several species of dinosaurs have been discovered. Because of its precarious location, volunteer miners, and explosive technicians offered their services on a volunteer basis to help excavate the site. Their hard work paid off and they were rewarded with rock layers bearing fossils dating back approximately 106 million years. Don’t get too excited about making any discoveries of your own as Dinosaur Cove is virtually impossible to access—unless, of course, you have a helicopter.
Who is Kate Walker? She’s a freelance writer, yoga addict, and citizen of the concrete jungle. When not on the mat, Kate can be found at the dog park or on the dock in Muskoka. She is also pretty fond of running, skiing, and Settlers of Catan.