Friday, April 5, 2019
Two discoveries I remember most about our first trip in 2007 to Dinosaur Valley State Park are the giant dinosaurs and the dinosaur foot prints.
The giant dinosaur models made the perfect photo opportunity.
In all the travels beforehand, this was the first place fossilized dinosaur footprints were seen. Seemed amazing at the time. A person could walk along where a permanent record of walking dinosaurs was left 113 million years ago. (See more in the park’s Interpretive Guide.) As a species, we are young. Took my breath away.
Reliving these parts of that first trip to the park was the goal for this day trip while staying at Cleburne State Park.
The Main Track Site was the first stop. Getting to the track site required crossing the Paluxy River which when the river is up a bit might require waders to stay dry. The river was down on the first trip and our crossing was made by stepping across a series of well placed stones.
Roland T Bird made the world’s first discovery of a sauropod trackway on the far side of the river (above center far water pool). Unfortunately, a few of the stones one might use to cross the river are under water. The river was up enough to make any crossing without waders a wet one. No dinosaur tracks this day.
Roland T Bird wrote about his discovery for Natural History Magazine in 1939 in an article titled “Thunder In His Footsteps.” Sauropods are those dinosaurs that look like the model shown at the top of this blog post.
The park store didn’t have my size in the black t-shirt with Dinosaur Valley State Park design spoofing the Jurassic Park movie‘s park logo. I was devastated. It was totally cool in a dinosaur movie mocking kind of way.
Disclaimer: We have a DVD copy of each of the Jurassic Park movies.
Both dinosaur models were left overs from the 1964 New York World’s Fair. They were included in the Sinclair Oil Company’s Dinoland Pavilion.
As a child, I had a little plastic Sinclair Oil Dinosaur. Now I know!
Both dinosaurs have been recently restored and the colors are considerably more vibrant now than twelve years ago.
Also interesting was seeing what else had or hadn’t changed in twelve years. The campground didn’t seem to have changed much. It still meanders around a lopsided circle. Nearly all the spots still have shade from beautiful old trees. Deer still roam around the sites. This park offers electric and water sites. A dump station is available. Much of the campground has good AT&T cell signal and adequate Verizon. At a small area in the middle of the campground, for some non-obvious reason, both AT&T and Verizon signals disappeared.
Just outside the park is a new private business called Dinosaur World. Looks like a fun place to take preteen children for an afternoon of clean fun.
On the way to Dinosaur Valley State Park, visitors also pass the Creation Evidence Museum. If I understand their website, as creationist, they have reconciled their beliefs with dinosaurs. I’m sure this oversimplifies their teachings. We have met people for whom their teachings have given their faith a profoundly positive boost.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!
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