The other main reason we went to Arizona last week was to see dinosaurs. The dino-philes amongst us had heard there were some fine Triassic fossils, models and murals spread throughout Arizona. Some of us researched how and where to see every last dinosaur and dinosaur-like creature in the state. We also brought some of our own and showed them around.
Now, my kids were beyond bored with the amazing facts about the Grand Canyon, including the that the top layer of earth there is Kaibab limestone, rock older than the dinosaurs. As you proceed down the canyon, the rock gets even older, with the deepest part of the canyon being 1.5 Billion, with a “B” years old!! (Vishnu and Zoroaster formations. Geonerds, check out this awesome geologic map of Arizona. )
Of more interest was the rock formations left from the early and late Triassic periods (Moenkopi and Chinle) for the Postosuchus and the Coelophysis fossils they contain. (That’s “crocodile from past” and a 10-foot-long bipedal, carnivorous early dinosaur.)
We looked high and low and this is what we found…
In Flagstaff’s Museum of Northern Arizona
In Petrified Forest National Park and the park’s Rainbow Forest Museum, Arizona
At the Museum of Natural History of Mesa
*What a gem of a museum. The Dinosaur Mountain exhibit is several stories high and combines geologic layers of rock with animatronic dinosaurs, animal, and plant life from the corresponding age. The flight exhibit was also a bit jumbled, but worth visiting. Not pictured is the Dino Zone, a room for kids to touch, climb and explore around life-size models of a stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, and triceratops set in front of realistic background murals where my children spent more time than the rest of the museum combined, crawling in and out of a tube. Because they were raised by animals.*
And then there was The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:
May you too find dinosaurs wherever you look.