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Tours

Here you will find detailed information about our various tours of Dinosaur Ridge. The 3 main tour types available are:


Guided Tours

Guided tours are available year round to groups of all ages including families, daycares, home school groups, private school groups, public school groups (kindergarten through college), civic groups, clubs, and senior centers. These tours should be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.

* Teachers, please do not have parent volunteers schedule programs for your classes - this creates confusion.  Please schedule a program reservation yourself, or if you are partnering with another teacher have them call.

Fees and the Deposit
Guided tours for school groups are $3.00 per participant (students non-teacher adults). For non-school groups (daycare, senior center, club, etc) it is $4.00 per participant (staff free). A $36.00 deposit for school tours and a $48.00 deposit for non-school tours is required and covers 1-12 participants. The deposit is refundable in full if participants notify us of their intent to cancel at least 24 hours prior to the tour. Refunds of deposit are also made in the event of inclement weather. We will confirm your program via e-mail after receiving your deposit. Please mail your deposit (or call us with a credit card) as soon as possible after reserving a program with us, and be prepared to pay the remaining balance on the day of your tour (if applicable). We accept cash, check, or credit card (Visa, Discovery, or MasterCard) for payment of fees and deposits.
*Adults are not charged for the Backyard Bones: Cretaceous Crime Scene Program.

Comfort and Safety
Because tours are outside on the trails, please dress for Colorado’s changing weather. Dressing in layers for changing temperatures is recommended. Hats should be worn year round, and gloves worn in the spring, fall, and winter. During summer months, use sunscreen, carry water, and take rain gear in anticipation of frequent afternoon rain showers. Sandals and open-toed shoes are discouraged; shoes or boots are recommended.

Certain safety issues require visitors to use good judgment and/or be moderately cautious:

  1. Rocks and steep slopes (no throwing or climbing)
  2. Rattlesnakes (seldom seen on tours)
  3. Traffic along the trail (a few buses and service vehicles, plus bicyclists)
  4. Lightning storms (most frequent on summer afternoons)

Tour participants are not allowed to either pick up and throw loose rocks or climb on the steep slopes along the trails. Avoid stepping or reaching into rocky or weedy areas where you cannot see the footing, in order to avoid camouflaged rattlesnakes. Occasionally a rattlesnake will be spotted near the trail, but seldom in the areas visited by tour groups. In the event of a rattlesnake sighting, back away and alert others. Traffic and traffic noise have been minimal since the road was closed to most vehicles. However, watch for bicyclists and do not assume that riders will use their designated lanes. Lightning will cause tours in progress to be either suspended or called off. Participants will be urged to come down from the Ridge or Trail immediately.

Mega Tours Available at Dinosaur Ridge
Large tours (150-250 participants) call or e-mail well in advance in order to get Mega Tour schedules and options. Mega Tours, for example, may divided into as many as six smaller groups, and therefore more stops than the typical four may be planned. We break up the large groups and assign one guide to approximately 30 participants. This provides a higher quality tour. At Triceratops Trail, the maximum tour size is 60 participants and at the Backyard Bones Dig, the maximum group size is 22 students.

Facilities
Facilities at Triceratops Trail

  1. free parking

Facilities at the Dinosaur Ridge Visitor Center include:

  1. outdoor restrooms (primitive, accessible 24/7)
  2. free parking (with room for RV’s, motor coaches, and buses)
  3. picnic tables/areas (available on first-come first-served basis)
  4. gift shop (with information, maps, and trail/field guides)
  5. Stegosaurus Snack Shack

Groups should bring water or plan to purchase bottled water from the Stegosaurus Snack Shack, because the well water at Dinosaur Ridge is not potable.

To schedule a guided tour contact Erin LaCount at:

Dinosaur Ridge
16831 W Alameda Pkwy
Morrison, CO 80465
303-697-3466 x 101
tours@dinoridge.org

Volunteering for Guided Tours
Volunteers with backgrounds in science, education or other fields guide most of the tours at Dinosaur Ridge and Triceratops Trail. They enjoy sharing their knowledge with others at one of the most scenic venues along the Colorado Front Range. Many begin by accompanying a guided tour (shadowing), then they guide at a single site during a Dinosaur Discovery Day, and finally they lead tours of the four to six primary sites visited on guided tours of Dinosaur Ridge or Triceratops Trail.  Other volunteering opportunities can be seen in the Volunteer Information section.

Contact Erin Fair at tours@dinoridge.org if you are interested in volunteering for guided tours!

Dinosaur Ridge Guided Tour – “Dinosaur Freeways and Cretaceous Seaways” *

The general Dinosaur Ridge guided tour consists of four sites, each with around 20 minutes of interpretation by your guide(s).

Dinosaur Ridge East Side – 100 million years ago

  1. The Swamp Site offers clues to Colorado’s environment 100 million years ago, when the landscape and climate were very different from those of today.
  2. The Dinosaur Tracksite has over 300 footprints left by several dinosaurs and one crocodile. Sizes and shapes of footprints suggest details of the anatomy and lifestyle of the trackmakers. Patterns in the grouping of the footprints suggest certain dinosaur behaviors and family dynamics.

Dinosaur Ridge West Side – 150 million years ago

  1. Brontosaur Bulges refer to tracks made next to a watering hole by some of the largest dinosaurs to ever live. They are called bulges instead of footprints because of a lack of well-defined toe impressions.
  2. The Dinosaur Bone Quarry has dinosaur bones imbedded in sandstone that was originally left as sand in an ancient stream system.  Stegosaurus, Colorado’s State Fossil, was first discovered here in 1877.

Length of Program: 1.5 hours

Maximum Capacity: 250 participants

Age Appropriateness: 3rd grade to adult

Meeting Location: The Dinosaur Ridge Visitor Center

Transportation & Logistics: School buses, school vans, motor coaches, or the Dinosaur Ridge Shuttle Bus (possibly available for small groups, special arrangements required) transport tour participants along the trail. Plan for your bus/es to remain with your tour group. Some groups, particularly those of high school age college or older walk the entire trail with a guide. The fee for a walking guided tour is $5.00 per person with a $60 minimum. Request this service when making your reservation. Individuals can take advantage of “Walk With a Geologist”.

Fee & Deposit: A deposit of $36.00 or $48.00 is required and pays for up to 12 participants. The fee for tours with more than 12 participants is $3 per person for school groups and $4 per person for non-school groups. The balance (fee minus deposit) is due at the time of the tour.

* This tour is eligible to receive compensation for transportation from the Turner Field Experience Fund if over half the students are covered under the Federal lunch program. The admission fees will also be waived.

Triceratops Trail* Guided Tour – “Fossil Traces and Swampy Places” **
*Triceratops Trail is located 10 minutes north of the Dinosaur Ridge Visitor Center in Golden.

Triceratops Trail at Parfet Prehistoric Preserve is a 3/4-mile (1.5 mile round trip) trail in Golden. These remnants of a 68 million year old swampy delta have impressions from both plants and animals. Your guide will spend about 10-15 minutes at each of the 5 interpretive sites.

Triceratops Trail: Parfet Prehistoric Preserve
Following the footsteps of some of the last dinosaurs that existed, you see and touch footprint evidence from Triceratops, possible Edmontosaurus, smaller meat-eating dinosaurs, birds, insects, and worms. Two huge footprints are thought by some paleontologists to be from Tyrannosaurus rex. Plant evidence is abundant in the form of impressions, and evidence of a variety of flora from palm trees to conifers can be seen along the trail.

Length of Program: 1.5 hours (include 10 minutes for travel time from the Dinosaur Ridge Visitor Center to the trailhead in Golden)

Maximum Capacity: 60 participants (divided into 3 groups of 20 participants)

Age Appropriateness: 4th grade to adult

Meeting Location: the Dinosaur Ridge Visitor Center

Transportation & Logistics: Drive from the Visitor Center to Triceratops Trail (10 minutes), then hike Triceratops Trail (about 1.5 miles round trip).

Fee & Deposit: A deposit of $36.00 or $48.00 is required and pays for up to 12 participants. The fee for tours with more than 12 participants is $3 per person for school groups and $4 per person for non-school groups. The balance (fee minus deposit) is due at the time of the tour.

** This tour is eligible to receive compensation for transportation from the Turner Field Experience Fund if over half the students are covered under the Federal lunch program. The admission fees will also be waived.

The Dinosaur Dig Program – “Backyard Bones: Cretaceous Crime Scene” *

The Cretaceous Crime Scene is located at the Dinosaur Ridge Visitor Center, near the Gift Shop. A docent will facilitate a simulated dinosaur dig for your students as they get a chance to see how paleontologists dig, study, and interpret the fossil evidence.
                         
Your small group of paleontologists will uncover the bones of an Edmontosaurus, a duckbilled dinosaur from Colorado’s Late Cretaceous swamps. Following a Q & A about fossils and paleontologists, the dig will begin.  Students discover up to 27 dinosaur bones and identify certain bones in order to determine the size and kind of dinosaur they have found. Finally, they do what amounts to a crime scene investigation to determine why their dinosaur was there, what happened to it, and how it died.

Length of Program: 45-minutes to 1-hour

Maximum Capacity: 22 students

Age Appropriateness: K-2nd grades

Meeting Location: The Dinosaur Ridge Visitor Center

Fee & Deposit: A deposit of $36.00 or $48.00 is required and pays for up to 12 participants. The fee for tours with more than 12 participants is $3 per person for school groups and $4 per person for non-school groups. The balance (fee minus deposit) is due at the time of the tour.

* This tour is eligible to receive compensation for transportation from the Turner Field Experience Fund if over half the students are covered under the Federal lunch program. The admission fees will also be waived.

Discovery Center Explorers
A new program is being piloted this winter (2014) in an effort to make a successful and education program for k-12 students. We are able to accommodate around 100 students or less at this location and can custom build a program based on your size and needs. Contact Erin LaCount to schedule a program at our new center! 

The program fee is typically $5/student, but if you schedule a program between November 2014 and March 2015 the program will be $3/student.

In-school Outreach Program* – “Dinosaurs of Colorado” **
*This is only applicable for school groups

Although the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge strongly encourage teachers to take advantage of its outdoor programs, they also offer in-school programs for your classes.  Docents present Colorado’s ancient environments, fossils and geology using fossil replicas, posters and models. Your students will learn about the distant past and how Colorado has changed over time.

Length of Program: 45-minutes to 1-hour
                  
Maximum Capacity: 1-2 classrooms full of students

Age Appropriateness: 2nd-12th grades

Meeting Location: Your school classroom or auditorium

Fee: $40.00 per hour, no deposit is required, you can pay the docent on the day of the program

** This tour is not eligible to receive compensation for fees from the Turner Field Experience Fund.

Walk with a Geologist

Come explore the geology of Dinosaur Ridge in depth on this series of hikes. Learn about the many different environments, landscapes and how they’ve changed over the last 300 million years! These Saturday programs 9:15am-11:30pm will be fully guided by a Dinosaur Ridge geologist and is geared toward adults. Not recommended for children. Walk With A Geologist is available to the public and a $10 donation per person is requested. Call 303-697-3466 x 103 for a reservation by 3pm the previous Friday. Those showing up without reservations will be accepted on a space available basis. Please bring cash or a check to the adventure. Not recommended for children under 12 years old.

Walk with a Geologist will run on the first and third Saturdays from May through October; Upcoming dates TBD

For more information contact Tom Moklestad at Tom_Moklestad@dinoridge.org or call 303-697-3466 x 103.

Joint Tour* with the Morrison Natural History Museum **
*The Dinosaur Ridge portion of the tour is the Dinosaur Freeways and Cretaceous Seaways program, Triceratops Trail is not included in the Joint Tour offer. This offer is only available for school groups.

The Morrison Natural History Museum (MNHM) is located 5-10 minutes southwest of Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison, Colorado. The guided tour of the MNHM’s exhibits is compatible with State educational standards. Students tour through the museum with a guide and participate in discussions and hands-on activities about the ancient life and landscapes of Colorado’s Front Range including recent dinosaur discoveries made by Museum staff that were featured in Smithsonian magazine.

The best option for this joint program is with 50-100 students and/or two buses (one at each location). Dinosaur Ridge and the MNHM will provide you with a schedule based on your requested starting time. One bus will be located at Dinosaur Ridge, the other at MNHM, and after the first 1.5-hour program, the buses will then switch locations.

If you have only a single bus, you can still request a joint tour.  MNHM staff and FODR staff will work together to synchronize your tours so that you can experience full tours at both venues without being rushed at either site.

Length of Program: 3 hours
                  
Maximum Capacity: 50 per bus, 2 buses requested

Age Appropriateness: 3rd grade through high school

Meeting Location: ½ at Dinosaur Ridge, ½ at MNHM

Fees & Deposits*: Dinosaur Ridge fees and deposits apply to the Dinosaur Ridge portion.  Morrison Natural History Museum fees apply to that portion of the joint tour. Please pay each venue separately.

** The Dinosaur Ridge portion of this program is eligible to receive compensation for transportation from the Turner Field Experience Fund if over half the students are covered under the Federal lunch program. The admission fees will also be waived.

Turner/Livingstone Field Experience Fund*
*This is only applicable for school groups

The Turner family, in memory of Dan and Mac Turner, set up this scholarship fund. Dan was a dedicated volunteer and tour guide at Dinosaur Ridge. This fund assisted low-income schools with the cost of field trips to Dinosaur Ridge. Since then, the Backyard Bones and Triceratops Trail have been added to the list of outdoor programs. For eligible schools these new programs are also covered by the Turner Fund.

Later, Xcel Energy, a public utility that supplies the Denver Metro area with electricity and natural gas, established the Xcel Energy Fund. Eligibility requirements and reimbursements are the same as those for the Turner Fund. These funds are perfect for a school group with limited field trip options!

Eligibility Requirements
Your school must have over 50% of its students on the Free and Reduced Lunch Program.  An Excel file can be found at the Colorado Department of Education site. Many in-school offices have the Free and Reduced Lunch numbers, check before calling or e-mailing to verify eligibility. This scholarship is only available for on-site field trips at Dinosaur Ridge or Triceratops Trail, and cannot be applied to in-school outreach programs.

Reimbursements
The Turner Fund through Dinosaur Ridge waives the admission fee of $3.00 per participant up to a maximum of 250 participants. The fund pays up to $100 toward the cost of each bus. This scholarship is only available for on-site field trips at Dinosaur Ridge or Triceratops Trail, and cannot be applied to in-school outreach programs.

Self Guided Tours

Self-Guided visitation is a popular way for families and small groups to explore the features at Dinosaur Ridge and Triceratops Trail. Admission to both the Dinosaur Ridge and Triceratops Trails and the Gift Shop is free of charge (Shuttle Bus and Exhibit Hall not included). There are more than 15 interpretive sites on the Ridge and 6 interpretive sites along Triceratops Trail.

If you are bringing your family, or a group of 15 or fewer for a self-guided tour, you do not need to notify us ahead of time. You may want to take a Shuttle Bus Tour. Dinosaur Ridge and Triceratops Trail are open from sun-up to sun-down, the Visitor Center is open seven days a week. Click here for hours.

Self Guided School/Other Groups are welcome on the Dinosaur Ridge Trail and at Triceratops Trail, however Guided Tours with reservations have the right of way. If you are planning to bring a Self-Guided Tour such as a school, daycare, summer camp, or any other tour, please call our reservation line at (303) 697-3466 x 101. We will attempt to reserve a time for your group in an otherwise open time slot (no charge). Your consideration will help us serve you and other groups better.

Additional Tour Materials *
*Teachers can request a Field Guide to Dinosaur Ridge or A Guide to Triceratops Trail, the interactive CD-ROM and a DVD tour of the Ridge/Trail as pre or post visit materials for your scheduled guided tours. All materials are available at the Dinosaur Ridge Gift Shop.

The Field Guide to Dinosaur Ridge
Each site on the Ridge is detailed in this easy-to-read guide, which is a helpful tool for self-guided groups. Written by Dr. Martin Lockley, Dinosaur Ridge’s resident paleontologist, this guide is useful for all ages and serves as a great souvenir to remember your trip!

Cost: $6.00 - Number of Pages: 34 (color)

A Guide to Triceratops Trail at Parfet Prehistoric Preserve
This is a popular guide to Triceratops Trail in Golden, CO. Descriptions and color photos in this easy-to-read guide accompany interpretations of each site along the Trail. For self-guided tours, this book will be helpful.

Cost: $1.50 - Number of Pages: 16 (color)

Dinosaurs in our Backyard: Interactive CD-ROM**
This CD-ROM is a dynamic visit to Dinosaur Ridge, Triceratops Trail, and Red Rocks Park (including virtual tours). Also on this disc is the Dinosaur Ridge Audio Tour, which we recommend for vehicles with “handicapped” credentials that have access to the Ridge without a guide, or for hikers with a CD player.
**Works in almost all CD players and computers

Cost: $8.00, length of audio tour: 45 minutes

A Video Tour of Dinosaur Ridge plus a Video Tour of Triceratops Trail
The first track of this DVD retraces the original discoveries of Dinosaur Ridge from Arthur Lakes’ first unearthing of Jurassic dinosaurs like Stegosaurus in the 1870s, to the mid-1990s when paleontologists discovered additional Cretaceous footprints along Alameda Parkway. The second track is a video tour of Triceratops Trail.

Cost: $6.95 (in color)

Running Time: 20 minutes for Dinosaur Ridge, 11 minutes for Triceratops Trail

 Junior Paleontologist Activity Booklet*
*Teachers: this booklet is available for use alongside your guided tours for grades 2-4. These booklets are 50% off when ordered together with a school tour.

The Junior Paleontologist Activity Booklet is filled with activities centered around fossils found at Dinosaur Ridge and Triceratops Trail. Most of the activities are either for preparation or review of your visit. Kids can purchase and awesome-looking Junior Paleontologist Patch (sells for $3.95) after completing the activities - great addition to a jacket, hat, or scout shirt!

Cost: $1.00 ($.50) for teachers with large groups of students)

Pages: 14

Shuttle Bus Tours

*The shuttle buses are for the visiting public on a first come first served basis, not school groups or other tour groups with reservations for Guided Tours.
                                                                
The Shuttle Bus is available for boarding hourly beginning at 10AM at the Visitor Center for 40-minute guided tours of Dinosaur Ridge.  The last bus leaves at approximately 4PM (May-October) and 3PM (November-April). During the peak season (June-August), shuttle buses run approximately every half hour from 10AM-4PM.

Your driver/guide will stop at the Dinosaur Bone Site, the Brontosaur Bulges, and the Dinosaur Tracksite where you can hear a brief talk and see and touch the fossils.

If you decide to walk the Dinosaur Ridge Trail from the Dinosaur Bone Site back to the Visitor Center, (about a 1.5 mile hike that’s mostly downhill) your driver can give you information on the trip to the Bone Site and can get you started on your hike by pointing out the Dinosaur Bones and Brontosaur Bulges before you continue on your own.

If you use the shuttle to get to the West side and need a ride back, flag down the driver at any time. If you have not paid for the shuttle and need a ride, the cost is $4.00 per person, kids three and under ride free. In the case of injury, illness, lightning or other inclement weather, the shuttle rides will be used to help the visitor(s) off the hill immediately.

Length of Program: 40 to 45 minutes round trip

Times: Shuttles leave on the hour (Sep-May) or half hour (Jun-Aug)

Age Appropriateness: Fun for all ages

Pick Up Location: In front of the Gift Shop at the Visitor Center

Fee: $5 per person four years and older; three years and under will be free (pay the driver).

Blue Star Guided Tour Rate: $2.00 per active Military servicemen/women.

 

Dinosaur Ridge - 16831 W Alameda Pkwy., Morrison, CO 80465 - 303-697-3466
Dinosaur Ridge Email Link