Five years after the original visitor center at Dinosaur National Monument was closed due to structural problems, a new facility will open on the day that it marks the monument's 96th birthday.
"On October 4, staff at Dinosaur National Monument invite the public to celebrate the grand opening of our new Quarry Visitor Center and Quarry Exhibit Hall," said Superintendent Mary Risser. "October 4 will be the 96th anniversary of the creation of the original 80-acre Dinosaur National Monument. Hosting a grand opening of our new buildings is an exciting way to celebrate our Founders Day."
The Quarry Visitor Center will provide information to visitors through new exhibits, an auditorium where visitors can view movies about the monument, and staff who can answer questions about the monument and surrounding area. Exhibits in the new visitor center will introduce visitors to natural resources, homesteading history, petroglyphs, geology, paleontology, and the rivers of Dinosaur National Monument. They have been designed to stimulate visitors' interest and encourage visitors to get out and discover the monument on their own, the park said in a release.
Interpretive and educational sales items will be available in the Intermountain Natural History Association's bookstore.
Located over the site of the world famous Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry, the new Quarry Exhibit Hall will provide public access to the 1,500 fossilized dinosaur bones found on the cliff face as they were deposited approximately 149 million years ago. The exhibit hall will also feature exhibits and displays about the Jurassic environment and its inhabitants.
The old visitor center was closed in July 2006 because of foundational problems that jeopardized the safety of the facility. A lack of funding had slowed efforts to replace the facility, but then $13.5 million was made available for the project through the American Rehabilitation and Recovery Act.
"The American Rehabilitation and Recovery Act provided the funding for these buildings. As soon as we learned that we had the money for the project, we began the contracting process," said Superintendent Risser. "Because of the complexity of this project, the contract was issued for an 18-month construction period. Advanced Solution Group out of Kaysville, Utah, received the notice to proceed with the project the middle of March 2010. Eighteen months takes us into September, when we anticipate that construction will be finished.
"Although the grand opening is planned for October, once both buildings are finished and the exhibits are installed, we will open them to the public as soon as possible. This will allow us to start up operations and learn the intricacies of the buildings," added the superintendent.