When optometrist Dr. Sheldon Johnson decided to level some property on his farmland in St. George, he had no idea his seemingly inconsequential task would change his life from that day forward while creating a new attraction which would bring thousands of dinosaur-loving tourists and curious visitors to his hometown. A thick block of sandstone he found under sedimentary rock revealed an unexpected surprise to the landowner – a large dinosaur track preserved in 3-dimension. But the surprises didn’t stop there. In the 15 years since this discovery was made, thousands more tracks, fossilized bones and fish, shells of small aquatic animals, leaves and seeds of plants have been unearthed and identified from 200 million year-old sandstone and mudstone along the shores of an ancient lake, now near downtown St. George, UT.
Dr. Johnson and his wife, LaVerna worked with Utah State Paleontologist Dr. Jim Kirkland and other scientists, local businesses and elected officials to decide how this find would be preserved and protected in a creative learning environment. The answer is the Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, a beautiful museum built directly over the original find.
In addition to the tracks clearly on display everywhere you look, museum staff have created interesting videos and displays to explain the site to young and old alike. Displays from other dino-sites come and go, as well often providing a different perspective on dino-life in the world’s Jurassic era.
The Dinosaur Discovery site is open at 2180 East Riverside Drive every Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the summer months (March 1 – September 30) including all summer holidays. From October 1 to February 28, the museum is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed on Sundays as well as winter holidays.
Tickets are $6 for Adults, $3 for children ages 4-11, and those under age 4 are free. There are also discounted Group rates (10 or more).
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