Day Trip Spotlight: St George Dinosaur Discovery Site

Jun 17, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments


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Many visitors use a Springdale vacation rental at Watchman VIllas as a base camp for exploring Zion National Park. It’s true that Watchman Villa’s location, less than a mile and a half from the park’s South Entrance, makes it a great spot to stay while exploring Zion. But there’s much more to discover outside of Springdale during your visit.

Our Utah villas are also a great spot to stay while exploring more of what Southern Utah has to offer. From other national parks, like Bryce Canyon, to some of Utah’s incredible state parks, there are endless other outdoor destinations and attractions to experience during your stay. 

One destination that’s certain to be a hit with kids and adults alike is the St George Dinosaur Discovery Site. Whether you’ve got a dinosaur enthusiast in the family or just want to learn more about the region’s prehistoric past, a visit to the St George Dinosaur Discovery Site in Utah is a must during your stay in a Springdale vacation rental. Keep reading to learn more about this unique destination, and how to plan a day trip during your stay.

St George Dinosaur Discovery Site

Located just under an hour away from our Zion rentals in the city of St George, this interactive museum is the perfect day trip for couples, families, students, dinosaur enthusiasts, and more.

The museum is located on the site of a major discovery of dinosaur tracks and fossils. In 2000, Dr. Sheldon Johnson, a local optometrist, was leveling a hill on his property. After he had removed a few feet of topsoil from the hill, he hit a thick layer of sandstone. In this sandstone, Dr. Johnson discovered ancient dinosaur tracks preserved in the rock. 

Dr. Johnson and his wife decided to preserve the site, and within just a few months, paleontologists from across the state had worked alongside volunteers to reveal what turned out to be thousands of fossils. In 2005, the St George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm opened, allowing visitors from around the world to see the fossils and dinosaur tracks for themselves and to learn more about the Jurassic period and our world’s prehistoric history.

Today, the St George Dinosaur Discovery Site is recognized as the oldest Jurassic dinosaur site in Utah, as well as the best basal Jurassic track site in western North America.

Planning a Visit to the Discovery Site

A Springdale vacation rental at Watchman VIllas is a great base camp for exploring Southern Utah, including nearby St George. With the St George Dinosaur Discovery Site located just an hour from our Utah villas, it’s easy to enjoy a quick day trip or even an afternoon visit to the site.

Operating Hours and Ticket Prices

The Discovery Site is open Wednesday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed on Tuesdays. You can purchase your ticket to visit the museum at the front desk. Adult tickets cost $10 per person, while seniors age 70 or older pay $9. Children ages 5 to 17 are $5, while children age 4 and younger are free.

What to Expect During Your Visit

From dinosaur bones and eggs to plant fossils and ancient marine life, the museum boasts a diverse collection that is appealing both to science enthusiasts and casual visitors. There are also interactive displays that make learning about prehistoric history fascinating to visitors of all ages.

The St George Dinosaur Discovery Site’s primary attraction is the raised walkway that allows you to get an up-close look at the fossils and dinosaur tracks preserved in the sandstone on the site. There’s an impressive collection of tracks left behind by these ancient giants, and the walkway makes it easy to examine them at your own pace. Also along this walkway are some recreations of what scientists believe the dinosaurs that left these tracks looked like.

The walkways are completely covered and climate controlled, making for a comfortable visit even on a hot day. They are also ADA-approved. You can explore the museum and walkway on a self-guided tour. Knowledgeable staff and volunteers are always on hand to guide visitors, answer questions, and offer some fascinating insights into the world of paleontology.

Depending on when you visit, you could even be lucky enough to witness ongoing excavations. Paleontologists frequently work on-site, unearthing new discoveries. Visitors can watch these experts at work, and even ask them questions.

Outside of the museum, the Discovery Site features picnic tables and walking trails that let you take in the views or enjoy an afternoon picnic during your visit. There’s also a gift shop where you can pick up dino-themed souvenirs and educational materials.

Booking Your Stay at a Springdale Vacation Rental

If you have a dinosaur enthusiast in your family or want to combine a fun afternoon with some education, a visit to the St George Dinosaur Discovery Site is a must during your stay in a Springdale vacation rental. This day trip is also a great way to give your feet a break from hiking or to get out of the heat for a day during your visit to Watchman Villas.

Ready to start planning which day trips you’ll enjoy during your stay in our Zion rentals? Start by booking one of our Utah villas for your visit!

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