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WWCC Natural History Museum

A Weekend of Dinosaur Hunting

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Photo: WWCC Natural History Museum

A Weekend of Dinosaur Hunting

Few things satiate the need for adventure quite like searching for rare treasures. And in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, those treasures happen to be prehistoric beasts. Here's our favorite way to spend the weekend hunting for dinosaurs:

Day 1: Fossils & Skeletons

9:00 a.m. To begin your weekend of dinosaur hunting, head straight into Rock Springs, Wyoming. Rock Springs is home to one of only eleven T-Rex skeletons (real or cast) in the world! Spend the morning at WWCC Natural History Museum marveling at five life-size replicas of once-native dinosaurs alongside fossils of fauna and other creatures that used to roam the area millions of years ago. Don't forget your camera! You'll want to capture this experience.

The museum is open from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. everyday, but summer hours May-August are extended from 7:00 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. daily. Guided tours are available, but feel free to explore on your own using this informational brochure & map.

12:00 p.m. Once you're done exploring the museum, head into town for your pick of lunch restaurants to fuel up before heading out to search for more fossils.

1:00 p.m. Embark on a journey back in time at White Mountain, 10 miles north of Rock Springs. Discover the White Mountain Petroglyphs which are ancient sandstone etchings made by the Plains and Great Basin Indians that who lived in this area roughly 200 to 1,000 years ago. These historic sandstone etchings tell the story of the Plains and Great Basin Indians who made their home here.

5:00 p.m. Once you're done exploring the outdoors and playing archaeologist for the day, head back into town in search of dinner. If you haven't already checked into your accommodations, this is a good time to do so before settling in to watch a rented movie.

(Hint: Pixar's "The Good Dinosaur" is the perfect family-friendly movie for your weekend of Wyoming dinosaur hunting!)

Day 2: Roam Like the Dinosaurs

9:00 a.m. Head into Green River to experience the outdoors. Find a local place to get breakfast in Rock Springs or Green River to start your day off right. Today is the day you get to explore the quintessential Wyoming landscapes that helped inspire the setting of Pixar's "The Good Dinosaur," so be sure to eat something hearty!

10:00 a.m. After breakfast, go for a hike to view some of Wyoming's most unique rock formations and roam the same land that the dinosaurs used to roam. Choose a rock formation or two that sound best for your family: Hike to a beautiful overlook point at Castle Rock, a landmark that juts out of the ground with unique, horizontal strata and layers rich in fosilized fish and plants; visit the Palisades, also known as the "Cliffs of Green River," for some of the most beautiful local scenery that has inspired artists from across the country; for a more challenging trek, hike to the top of Pilot Butte, located on top of White Mountain and reaching 7,949 feet tall, for breathtaking panoramic views of Sweetwater County; experience more of the area's ancient history at Boar's Tusk, the core of an ancient volcano. Learn more about the area's rock formations and where to find them.

1:00 p.m. Head back into town to find some lunch before continuing your day. 

2:00 p.m. Take a day trip to Kemmerer, Wyoming to take in the Fossil Butte National Monument.

5:00 p.m. Head back to Rock Springs for dinning and to stay at your accommodation. 

 

Day 3: Venture Outside Your Dino-Basecamp

Once you’ve explored the dinosaur treasures around Sweetwater County and want to discover even more of Wyoming’s dinosaur rich history, head out of Sweetwater County for the rest of your trip. If you head to the north, go to Thermopolis, Wyoming to explore the Wyoming Dinosaur Museum. If you head to the south, go to Vernal, Utah to visit the Dinosaur National Monument.

If you want to extend your dinosaur-themed Wyoming trip even more, check out the full DINOmite Loop Tour.

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