Dinosaur State Park

Location: Dinosaur State Park

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Location Description
Dinosaur State Park, located in Rocky Hill, CT, is named for the dinosaur tracks that were accidentally discovered there by construction workers in 1966. There are approximately 500 imprints made by a three-toed, meat-eating dinosaur. This animal walked upright on its hind legs and measured about 20 feet in length. The tracks are covered by a geodesic dome that forms the park’s main focus. There are also two dioramas which show what the sunset might have looked like during the Triassic period. The park sits on 60 acres of land, which has a butterfly garden and nature trails. There are unusual tree and plant species on the grounds that represent vegetation from the Age of Dinosaurs, including the cedar-of-Lebanon, giant sequoia, incense cedar, plum yew, and monkey puzzle tree. A favorite activity of visitors is to make plaster casts of selected dinosaur tracks. Additional activities include mineral mining, a theater, and a discovery room where visitors can see and touch real fossils.
Visit: Butterfly Garden
Initially, I could not make a direct connection between the great outdoors and dinosaurs, but I was glad we included Dinosaur State Park in our Outdoor Enthusiast series. The park has more than just dinosaur tracks. It is place where visitors can see and touch pieces of Connecticut's natural history. The park has an arboretum with samples of trees that may have existed in Connecticut when dinosaurs inhabited the area as well as a Discovery Room where visitors can touch real fossils and see a few modern-day ancestors of dinosaur-era animals. I got the chance to interview, Meg Enkler, the Park Supervisor. She explained the history of the park, guided us through the museum's gallery, and showed us the different activities at the park. Meg said that a popular activity at the park was dinosaur track casting. Visitors who bring their own materials can make a plaster casting of a real dinosaur print with the help of park employees. Luckily, the Media Lab Staffers were able to join the Mullen family as they made a casting. We were also able to go to the park's butterfly garden and explore a portion of the nature trail. We also stopped by the Discovery Room where we got to see fossils and a tank full of Hissing Cockroaches. These roaches were around since the age of dinosaurs and, apparently, make wonderful low-maintenance pets. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of activities and resources at Dinosaur State Park. I hope more people visit the park and take advantage of all the activities available there. -Julia Kwon

Interviewer: Julia Kwon

Videographers: Nate Newton, Sarah Krauss, Hannah Woodward

Editor: Julia Kwon

Animator: Sam Hockaday

Crew: Stephanie Merkel, Sara Ponticelli

Manager of Online Content: Paul Pfeffer

Director of Online Services: Derrick Ellis

Web Designer: Lauren Nauheimer

Many thanks to Lesley Deballo of the CT DEP, Margaret Enkler of Dinosaur State Park, Lisa, Connor, and Ryan Mullen, and Joanne Simonds of Dinosaur State Park.

Courtesy of http://www.dinosaurstatepark.org/