Dinosaur Journey Museum

Dinosaur Journey Museum in Fruita Colorado
A Tyrannosaurus Rex model greets visitors to the museum. | Photo by Adam Schweigert / flickr

Staff writer

The Dinosaur Journey Museum displays fossils, cast skeletons and robotic reconstructions of dinosaurs that once roamed the Grand Valley.

The exhibits display bones from dinosaurs such as the Allosaurus, Apatosaurus and Stegosaurus, and the robotic reconstructions demonstrate how the Utahraptor, Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex roamed the Earth during the Cretaceous period 66 to 146 million years ago. There also are cast skeletons are of the Velociraptor, Camarasaurus, Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, Othnielia, Camptosaurus and Mymoorapelta.

The museum has historic photos of dinosaur digs in the Grand Junction-Fruita area dating back to 1900.

The area has been prime hunting ground for dinosaur bones because it was the home to dinosaurs, inland seas and lakes, swamps and streams in the Jurassic Period from 206 million to 146 million years ago.

As the dinosaurs died, their bodies were quickly covered by deposits of shale and sandstone in the Morrison Formation and protected until they were unearthed, starting with white settlers in the 1880s.

In 1900, a field assistant to Elmer S. Riggs of Chicago’s Field Columbian Museum unearthed the first known skeleton of a Brachiosaurus at Riggs Hill in the Redlands. Riggs named the dinosaur based on that discovery. A year later, Riggs unearthed an Apatosaurus skeleton from Dinosaur Hill near Fruita.

In the 1970s, bones from a small, new dinosaur were discovered in the Fruita Paleontological Research Area south of the city. It was named the Fruitadens to honor the city when it was officially described in 2009. It is the smallest dinosaur yet unearthed.

Dinosaur Journey Museum
550 Jurassic Court
Fruita, CO 81521
(970) 858-7282