Tom and I have been going to St George every two or three weeks for shopping. St. George is the big city around here. It is 60 miles away and the only place with a hospital and chain stores. I especially like grocery shopping at Smith’s, which is a division of Kroger. I usually have to get something at JoAnns and Tom often needs to pick up something from Lowes. On a recent shopping trip, we decided to stop by Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm.
Dinosaur Discovery Site is a different kind of dinosaur museum. In 2000, local optometrist Dr. Sheldon Johnson was leveling a hill on his property in St. George, Utah. As he removed layers of sedimentary rock, he encountered a thick level of sandstone. As he tore it up in large blocks, a three-dimensionally preserved dinosaur track was found. Eventually thousands of tracks made by dinosaurs and other animals were recovered from the numerous layers of sandstone on his property.
Realizing that these dinosaur tracks would be best served if they were maintained for scientific and educational purposes, Dr. Johnson and his wife, LaVerna, worked to set aside the land and its fossils. Eventually the Johnsons donated the land and arranged for the tracks that had been found to be cared for by the City of St. George. St. George built a building over the tracks in the sandstone and today you can see the tracks in situ in the building.
Instead of bones and skeletons, we saw the paths the dinosaurs took through the muddy soil of the ancient sea. The signs helped us interpret the tracks: the kinds of dinosaurs and their activities. We saw a very rare butt-print of a dinosaur and another place where a dinosaur was running after smaller prey. The tracks preserve a moment in ancient time.
Tom and I didn’t stay a long time at the Dinosaur Discovery Site, but we did enjoy our visit. We paid $6 each for an entry fee. I especially liked seeing how the scientists preserve the footprints and make casts of them for further analysis. Seeing the dinosaur tracks “in action” made them more real to me.