Connecticut
5
www.stateparks.com
Dinosaur State Park '' © Kirstin Peterson
upload your photos

view photogallery

USA Parks
Connecticut
River Valley Region
Dinosaur State Park
DINOSAUR STATE PARK
DINOSAUR STATE PARK
400 West Street
Rocky Hill, Connecticut   06067

Phone: 860-529-8423
Email:
Dinosaur State Park

website

Dinosaur State Park

website

Dinosaur State Park
'Dinosaur State Park'

website

Arboretum and Exhibit Center

Dinosaur State Park
'Dinosaur State Park'

website

A path through the meadow

Dinosaur State Park
'Dinosaur State Park'

website

A bench to rest upon

Dinosaur State Park
'Dinosaur State Park'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

Inside the dome is this depiction of how it looked millions of years ago.

Dinosaur State Park
'Dinosaur State Park'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

The dome houses more then 500 dinosaurs tracks made during the Jurassic Period 200 million years ago.

Dinosaur State Park
'Dinosaur State Park'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

Inside the dome, artist William Sillin created this mural depicting the Triassic period.

Dinosaur State Park
'Dinosaur State Park'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

Life size model of a dinosaur inside the dome.

Dinosaur State Park
'Dinosaur State Park'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

The geodesic dome houses a life size model of dilopasaurus, a dinosaur which lived about 201 to 189 million years ago, during the early Jurassic period.

Dinosaur State Park
'Plaster Casting'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

There is an outside area where you can make your own plaster castings of real dinosaur footprints. Fun for the whole family with the benefit of taking home a print of a long extinct species.

Dinosaur State Park
'A Lost World'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

The Caption reads In Connecticut Valley, one has to only dig a few feet below the surface to discover a lost world - a sub-tropical place with beautiful lakes, forests, and remarkable animals a world with volcanic eruptions and violent earthquakes. Each new excavation in the Valleys sandstone and shales has the potential for great discovery - like this amazing display of 200-million-year-old dinosaur tracks.

Dinosaur State Park
'Tracks Entwined'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

Dinosaur tracks heading in all directions.

Dinosaur State Park
'Unusual Tracks'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

The plaque reads In 1980, vertebrate paleontologist Walter Coombs studied some unusual tracks on this rock layer. The longer middle toes made circular impressions and the two side toes left long claw marks. A little mud was mounded behind each toe impression. He concluded that these tracks were made by the tips of the toes of swimming carnivorous dinosaurs. This was the first such evidence ever found.

Dinosaur State Park
'Same Rock'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

This is a rock that was split apart and reveals the foot that made the print.

Dinosaur State Park
'Over 1,500 Prints'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

This picture represents the vastness of dinosaur footprints in the area. The ones not preserved under the Dome were buried for future excavations.

Dinosaur State Park
'Fish Fossils'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

Various fish fossils with explanation.

Dinosaur State Park
'Dinosaur Eggs'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

On display in the classroom are two fossilized dinosaur eggs.

Dinosaur State Park
'The Classroom'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

Pictured here is the Environmental Education Coordinator for this complex. She holds classes in this room encompassing outdoor recreation and natural resources.

Dinosaur State Park
'The Trackway'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

There is an interactive plaque with three different buttons that light up the straight trail of a single dinosaur. Here is a photograph that shows how they are lite up.

Dinosaur State Park
'Preserving a Natural Landmark'
© all photos copyright Gary Jordan e-mail sm1107comcast.net

Plaque reads In 1966 dinosaur tracks were discovered here and 1,500 of them were exposed. They were carefully covered over in 1976 to prevent damage from freezing and thawing. The trackway will be re-exposed when a protective structure can be built over it. Four consecutive posts mark the corners of the buried trackway.

Dinosaur State Park
'Adventures on the boardwalk'
© c Angela Hansen Photography

website

A boardwalk provides year-round interest and educational opportunities, even when the museum is closed

If you like dinosaurs, you'll love our 200 million-year-old fossil trackway, interactive exhibits and the chance to cast your own dinosaur footprint to take home.
History of the Area
The Connecticut Valley has a long history of fossil track discoveries. Outstanding specimens uncovered in 19th century brownstone quarries found their way into museums throughout the world. A new chapter in the history of such discoveries was written in 1966 when hundreds of tracks were exposed in Rocky Hill. This remarkable site became Dinosaur State Park.
Nearby Accommodations
The Connecticut River Valley Inn - Glastonbury, CTBBs / Inns
Restored and updated to a 5 room inn, centrally located in the pastoral yet progressive town of Glastonbury, Connecticut. Just steps from either a medley of casual to fine dining restaurants or from quiet walks along the Connecticut River. A fusion of the historic past with the style, artistry and conveniences of the new millennium.
5.8 miles from park*
Boats and RVs
Rent My Camper.com, Inc - Shirley, NYMotor Home Campers
We'll Hook You Up with all the comforts of home including heat and AC. We deliver, setup and pickup. Our campers sleep up to 10. Just bring your food and clothes we've covered everything else, even clean linens and towels Camper is supplied with pots, pans, plates, bowls, cups, utensils, all your kitchen needs.
60.3 miles from park*


Get directions
to this park:

by Town and state
OR
by zip code

Nearby Parks


Geocaching
The Connecticut Valley has a long history of fossil track discoveries. Outstanding specimens uncovered in 19th century brownstone quarries found their way into museums throughout the world. A new chapter in the history of such discoveries was written in 1966 when hundreds of tracks were exposed in Rocky Hill. This site became what is now Dinosaur State Park. The trackway, preserved in place, is a Registered Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.

Purpose: This EarthCache is created by the Connecticut Geological and Natural History Survey of the Department of Environmental Protection. This is the first in a series of EarthCache sites designed to promote an understanding of the geological and biological wealth of the State of Connecticut.

Supplies: You will need a measuring tape and park trail map. Spoilers may be included in the descriptions or links.

Directions: Exit 23 off I-91 in Rocky Hill, CT. Follow park's signs east on West Street for approximately 1 mile. The park is directly off West Street. Watch for signs and a large geodesic dome. No cost to park and walk grounds.

History of the Park: In August 1966, bulldozer operator Edward McCarthy was excavating a rocky site for a state building. He turned over a slab of gray sandstone and saw something very exciting: six large, three-toed footprints.

Officials, local scientists and the media were notified, and the news of the discovery quickly spread. Many more tracks were uncovered and the site was fenced in and guarded. Within a few weeks officials decided to preserve the site as a state park. Two seasons of careful excavation resulted in one of the largest on-site displays of dinosaur tracks in the world.

Anyone who likes dinosaurs and plans to undertake the EarthCache should allow time to experience this incredible park. In addition to the 200 million year old fossil trackway there are interactive exhibits and the chance to cast your own dinosaur footprint to take home. Contact the park on materials you need to bring to makes these molds. There are several nature trails that are also of interest. One is the blue trail that hosts a board walk over a classic red maple swamp, a natural spring and at the furthest bench, traprock ridge views of a forested area below. The 10 acre arboretum surrounding the Exhibit Center have conifer trees and plants that grew in the Mesozoic Era, such as gingkos, dawn redwoods and magnolia.
Nature Programs
Visit Dinosaur State Park where your students can explore a museum and enjoy the outdoors in one field trip, while meeting Connecticut Core Science Standards. The Park features over 500 Early Jurassic dinosaur footprints preserved in place inside the museum, alongside interactive exhibits about dinosaurs, evolution, and Connecticut geology. The Park has guided programs throughout the school year for grades 1 and up. Your visit will begin with a slide presentation, followed by a guided tour of the trackway and a participatory activity with the following themes:

Grades 1-5 Fun with Fossils - Travel back in time to learn what Connecticut was like at the time of the dinosaurs, and what we can learn about dinosaurs from their footprints and other fossils. Students will examine a variety of fossils and dinosaur models to learn about what made dinosaurs unique. Core Science Standards 1.2, 3.2, 4.2, 4.3

Grades 3-5 Rocks & Minerals Around Us - The rocks and minerals around us tell a story of dramatic changes in Connecticut over hundreds of millions of years. We also use many of these materials in our lives today. Students will examine samples of rocks and minerals from around Connecticut, explore their distinctive properties, and discuss ways we use these materials. Core Science Standards 3.1, 3.3, 4.3

Grades 6-8 Connecticut Landforms - The Connecticut landscape around us today was shaped over hundreds of millions of years by colliding continents, erupting lava, flowing water, and massive ice sheets. Students will learn how these forces interacted by examining the shape of the land surface and samples of bedrock from key locations around the state. Core Science Standard 7.3

Grades 9-12 Evolution - Find out how the dinosaur footprints in Connecticut relate to the larger story of evolution through time, beginning with Earth's earliest lifeforms and leading to the rise of the mammals in the Cenozoic. Choose from a timeline activity examining key evolutionary events, or a fossil-dating activity. Core Science Standard 10.5

Grades 9-12 Earth Systems - The dinosaur footprints and rocks found in Connecticut provide evidence for the cycling of matter and energy through the Earth system. Students will examine rock samples from Connecticut and piece together the exciting story of moving plates and changing environments that made Connecticut what it is today. Core Science Standards 9.1, 9.4, 9.5, 9.7, and 9.8

Guided programs are approximately 1? hours in length.
Things To Do in the Area
RiverQuest-Connecticut River Expeditions - Haddam, CTBoating
Explore the Connecticut River aboard the R/V River Quest, an environmentally friendly 64', 60 passenger vessel docked at Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam, CT.
Web Site: ctriverquest.com
13 miles from park*
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
August 20 Featured on U-Haul Trucks by David
Dinosaur State Park is featured on the U-Haul Connecticut truck graphic. This park has a wealth of history and gives us a better look into the time of the dinosaurs.
September 25
Great idea but kids got bored very quickly. Nature walk fun but not good for toddlers. This State Park COULD be much better!


Area Campgrounds

Nelson's Family Campground
71 Mott Hill Road
E. Hampton, CT


Markham Meadows Campground
7 Markham Road
East Hampton, CT
860-267-9738


Area Accommodations (over 15 miles away)
Tidewater Inn Bed and Breakfast - Madison, CTBBs / Inns
Located in the shoreline village of Madison, CT, the Inn offers a cozy and elegant atmosphere of antiques and estate furniture.
Web Site: thetidewater.com/
24.9 miles from park*
View
Photo Gallery
Share Your
Dinosaur State Park
Photos
(click here)
Weather Forecast, (06067)

Directions
Exit 23 off I-91 in Rocky Hill. Follow parks signs east on West Street for approximately 1 mile. The park is directly off West Street. Watch for signs and a large geodesic dome.

USA Parks
Connecticut
River Valley Region
Dinosaur State Park
© 2014 StateParks.com