Saturday, April 16, 2011

Walking with the Dinosaurs

My first born is 4 years old and totally obsessed with Dinosaurs.  I know this is a common thing for most children and my son is no exception.  I myself went through a phase and even held an paleontological dig in my backyard.  Mason has toys, clothes, a Nature and Science Museum pass, and books of course.

We were looking in one of those books early this morning and it made several references to the discoveries made in Morrison, CO at Dinosaur Ridge.  It dawned on me that my son loves dinosaurs and one of the really cool sites for fossils was 10 minutes away from our house.  Why had we not been there yet!?   So I asked Mason if he would like to go there after we we were finished at the gym.  His answer was of course yes, and his little sister was pretty excited too.  I think she is catching Dino fever from her big bro.

After the gym and a quick lunch we drove over to Dinosaur Ridge.  The little museum was first, and it is little.  But on the up side it was $1.50 for all of us and the kids were allowed to touch everything.   This is a big plus for my kids because they are going to touch everything whether they are allowed to or not.  In this picture they are putting together magnetic dinosaur bones.  But the kids were over the museum about 10 minutes after we got in.  This is not unusual for them, especially Mason.  His whole goal of an outing is usually to make great time.  He wants to see everything as fast as humanly possible.  I try to make him slow down and enjoy what he is looking it but his mind is always on the next thing.  So after about the third time of him asking what was next I decided it was time to move on.

In the gift shop I found out we had just missed the bus that would take you to up the mountain to view the dinosaur tracks.  So we had two choices.  1) wait an hour for the next bus (oh dear God no) or 2) walk up the mountain and just do a self guided tour.  I went with option two because an hour of two children constantly asking when the bus was going to get here did not sound fun.  Plus, it would be nice to take a walk with the kids and go at our own pace.

And then I made a bad mistake.  I did not take the stroller.  Why oh why did I not take the stroller?? I guess I figured Emerson would want to get out anyway and I didn't want to deal with the stroller if no kids were going to be in it.  But the thing is the kids would have been in it.  I greatly underestimated the steepness of the road we had to walk up.  It was fine for me but for 4 little legs it was a really long steep walk.  The other problem was the speed in which my two children liked to go.  Mason, as I have already mentioned, likes to make great time.  Emerson likes to stop and try to pick up every rock she can possibly fit in her hands.  When she runs out of room she starts to put them down her shirt (her "pocket" as she calls it).  This lallygagging caused immense distress for her big brother.  He kept yelling "Emmy hurry up!  The footprints will be gone!"  I reassured Mason that the prints had been there for over 65 million years and they would not erode in the next 10 minutes.  He wasn't convinced.  

We finally got to the tracks and both kids got to explore the area and see the evidence that these giant reptiles had once ruled the earth.  It was pretty cool and so exciting to see your kids get excited about science (especially if you were a science teacher!).

There are even more things to do at Dinosaur Ridge but they would have to wait for another trip.  It was getting really cold and clouds were rolling in.  It's Colorado and you just never know what you are going to get.  Plus the kids were tired from the long trek.  But we shall return and explore some more (next time with a stroller)!

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