Museum Highlights

Events and Dino Days in Dixie

Check out our upcoming events, including new Grand Openings, Dino Days in Dixie schedules, and exhibits

New National Park Service Kids’ Page about our paleontologist can be found here

New video about our recent fossil discoveries

Dinosaur Discovery Site Highlightsdinosaur discovery site tracks

First and foremost, the Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm represents the remarkable discovery of an Early Jurassic lakeside environment and the thousands of tracks of the creatures that roamed the shoreline in search of food. The sandstone fossils preserve both the details of the print and the actions of the printmaker. Because of its location along the shores of Lake Dixie, the largest collection of dinosaur swim tracks are also housed at this facility and many of these blocks are on display. Other Early Jurassic fossils found here include tracks of insects, fish swim trails, and sedimentary structures, all of which tell the story of the area approximately 200 million years ago.

Located onsite is a preparation lab staffed by well-trained volunteers that handle and clean fossil samples from this site as well as others in the surrounding area. They also work on the large blocks throughout and fossils within the museums collections.

Replicas and restorations

These life-restorations help tell the story of the region’s early inhabitants to visitors and help them visualize the animals that made these remarkable tracks. These Early Jurassic animals had to be constructed specifically for the museum by local artist Erric wan-Keir with 3D Arts Design. Dr. Jerry Harris, site consultant and Director of Paleontology, Dixie State University, and Andrew Milner, site paleontologist and curator, worked with Erric to construct the restorations. These currently include a juvenile Dilophosaurus, a Megapnosaurus, a recently added Jurassic pterosaur, Dimorphodon, as well as a Scutellosaurus, and a new favorite, Protosuchus. Other replicas include the only Scelidosaurus on display in the Americas, other pterosaur replicas, and several legs and feet of later Utah trackmakers such as Allosaurus and Utahraptor.

Special Displays

The Classroom houses rotating exhibits and tells the stories of dinosaurs and paleontology beyond the museum. These temporary displays have included such topics as dinosaur eggs, historical inaccuracies in early paleontology, how dinosaurs get their names, as well as origami of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. Along with each new exhibit is a hands-on activity that goes along with the current exhibit’s theme. Other activities include Draw Your Favorite…, dinosaur stencils and rubbings, dinosaur toys, and books. Click here to see our current paleontology displays.

 

Dino Park

 

Inside the Dino Park is a sandbox that contains tracks for children to find. There are several blocks around the walkways that have fossilized bones embedded in them that can be touched and studied to see the differences in fossilization. The museum is planning two new exhibits in the Dino Park. The first will be a climb-on crouching dinosaur and a “Walk Through Time” exhibit about the geologic time scale.

A sandbox on legs is also available to either make additional tracks or uncover replica fossils and is a convenient height for individuals using wheelchairs or just standing. These projects have been sponsored in part by the Utah Department of Arts & Museums.