Updated: Nov 4, 2022
On our last day in Colorado, we wanted to squeeze in one more activity before hitting the road. When the bus was travel-ready, we hooked up the Jeep. On Dad's lunch hour we moved the bus to a parking lot in Woodland Park. The three kids and Mom hopped off the bus and walked a few blocks to the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center.
We had fun getting up close to the dinosaur figures. Once we were inside of the museum we were amazed by all the fossils and bones. We looked at everything and learned lots of neat dinosaur facts. There was even a skeleton attacking another dino. Although that wasn't how the fossils were found, the scientists put it together that way to show the dinosaur in action. Though, this was only possible because the bones on display are actually made of plaster. The real fossils would be too heavy and difficult to support the tall structures. They did have a few real fossils on display for us to see and even touch.
There was an interesting display showing how the fossils were formed. First, a dinosaur dies by a river, and as the water rises the bones are covered in soil. Then they are left there for millions of years, so when the bones are found they are fossils. But not all bones are turned into fossils. There has to be a fast change of land to cover them up, or else they just rot away. Sometimes animals are completely preserved, like this mammoth pictured below. Even some of its tissue was preserved.
There was a 3D printer in the museum and we got to see it print a claw mold for a skeleton that had a right claw, but was missing the left. As it was printing we went to look at other exhibits. We watched a movie about archaeologists finding bones and learned the process on how they carefully dug up the bones. When the archaeologists discover bones at the site, they carefully uncover the dirt around the fossils. Then they apply a plaster cast over the fossil and wait for it to harden. After many layers are completed, the fossil is ready for transport. The large cast is placed onto a pallet, then loaded on a truck headed back to the resource center. Once the fossil is in the lab, molds are formed to make cast models that can be replicated to send to other museums. Making cast models from the real fossils and sending them to other museums is what made this resource center unique. We were able to see the scientists preparing fossils to be made into molds.
Towards the end of our visit we checked back on the 3D printer, and we just caught the very end of the claw being finished. There were plenty of hands-on activities that kids could do. One of the displays was "guess what you feel inside the box." It was fossilized dinosaur poop that we just touched. (EWW!)
After we saw all the things in the museum we looked in the gift shop. We picked out a mold that turns a hard-boiled egg into a dino head, and KC got a Lego pterodactyl that he named Terry. Then when we left the Dinosaur Center we saw the clouds were rolling in, so we sprinted back to the bus before it started pouring.
We had a lot of fun in Colorado, and we were excited to move on to our next adventure!
Written by: B.O.B. & Mom; Fun Fact by: Pickles
*Blog posts are not reflective of our current location,
they have been written and posted with a delay.*