Welcome to the Museums of Western Colorado’s Dinosaur Journey,
located in Fruita, Colorado – the Heart of Dinosaur Country
Dinosaur Journey is a regional paleontological and geological museum that tells the story of the history of life in western Colorado and surrounding areas with real fossils, cast skeletons, and robotic reconstructions of dinosaurs. The hands-on, interactive museum includes over 15,000 fossil specimens in its collections, exhibits and displays featuring discoveries from the region, a viewable paleontology laboratory where dinosaur bones are prepared for display, an earthquake simulator, a dinosaur library reading, a sandbox for making your own dinosaur tracks, and a “quarry site” where kids can uncover actual Jurassic dinosaur bones.
The exhibition hall features fossil bones of dinosaurs such as Apatosaurus and Allosaurus, along with robotic reconstructions of Dilophosaurus, Utahraptor, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus rex, and Stegosaurus. See life-size cast skeletal mounts of Velociraptor, Camarasaurus, Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, Othnielia, Camptosaurus, and Mymoorapelta. Compare your size to that of the shoulder blade of a Supersaurus, or compare the size of any dinosaur bone to that of Amphicoelias fragillimus, a dinosaur that dwarfs all others.
See the tiny Jurassic dinosaur Fruitadens and compare it to other dinosaurs that lived at the same time, such as Apatosaurus, a dinosaur that was perhaps a million times heavier than Fruitadens. We also have on display a large Triceratops skull, perhaps one of the largest specimens ever found. These exhibits plus dinosaur tracks, rocks, minerals, meteorites, fossil fish, and much much more are waiting at the Dinosaur Journey Museum!
Want to be a paleontologist for a day? Join the Museums of Western Colorado’s Paleontology Division at the Dinosaur Journey Museum as we explore and discover the richness of this region’s prehistoric past! More than just viewing sites, many of our expeditions are discovering new information about the ancient life forms that used to roam what is now Colorado and the American Southwest. The very popular dinosaur adventures include excavating, prospecting, hiking, rafting, touring, and prepping fossil specimens. For more information, go here!
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This is a model of a tiny adult dinosaur found in the Morrison Formation just southwest of Fruita. Fruitadens was as small as plant-eating dinosaurs got, weighing only about 1 pound. Only its contemporary from Germany, Compsognathus, a meat-eater, got as small. As such, Fruitadens is tied for the honor of Smallest Dinosaur In The World. Compare this to some sauropod dinosaurs from the same rocks, such as Apatosaurus, which may have weighed as much as 75,000 pounds.
This famous dinosaur from Mongolia was a threat to its prey with its teeth and the claws on both the hands and feet. Velociraptor has been found fossilized in mid-attack, tangled with a Protoceratops and kicking at the ceratopsian with its foot claw. Velociraptor was not particularly large, however. This reconstruction is an adult.
“The Super Slasher”
Size: Up to 25 ft long and 1,500 lbs, 9-15 inch slashing claw
Early Cretaceous – Cedar Mountain Formation
Discovered in Utah in 1991
Utahraptor ostrommaysi is a movie star with a case of mistaken identity, known on screen as Velociraptor, it is one of the largest known members of the group Dromaesauridae (“running lizard”), known in pop-culture as the “raptors.” When Utahraptor was discovered in Utah in the early 1990s, it doubled the size of any other raptor known to science, growing up to 25 feet long, 1,500 lbs, with a slashing toe claw that could grow up to 15 inches long! Discovered in the Early Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation, Utahraptor is also the oldest known dromaesaur in North America.
Based on evidence gathered at other raptor species, it is inferred that Utahraptor had feathers like Velociraptor, and may have had a metabolism closer to modern birds than reptiles.
As more Utahraptor specimens are excavated, we will develop a fuller picture of what life was like for this remarkable animal that lived in our neighborhood so long ago.