Utah Field House Of Natural History & State Park
The Uinta Fossil Journey begins in the museum rotunda, where its sentry - the giant Diplodocus skeleton, 90 feet from tip to tail – looms about and greets visitors.
SEARCH THE STONE: A short film, Uinta Fossil Journey - Stories in Stone, takes visitors into the canyons along the drive to Vernal, and shows a day in the field at two fossil digs, one for the Jurassic period and another for the Eocene. The landscape comes alive with stories of past life.
FIND FOSSILS: Leaving the theater, a rock wall to the right contains a small ravine where visitors may try and distinguish fossils from among the washed out pebbles and debris. To the left, a dig site simulation illustrates the science and sequence of Jurassic fieldwork, including discovery and removal of fossils from rock.
Everything changes in the Fossil Lab; visitors leave the field and enter a completely new phase of work, which includes worktables, lights, glasses, and tools. Pick up a bone and chisel, and prepare a fossil specimen.
DISCOVER DINOSAURS: Younger visitors may do their own investigating in the children’s lab with books, models and puzzles surrounded by dinosaur models in their landscape.
JOURNEY INTO THE JURASSIC: This grand Jurassic Gallery reveals life 145 million years ago with three large and impressive dinosaur skeletons: The Stegosaurus standing tall and long; and the unfortunate Haplocanthosaurus below the devouring jaws of an Allosaurus.
TRAVEL IN TIME: A hallway of sounds and lights sends visitors 100 million years forward, with each step moving ahead 10 million years.
EXPLORE THE EOCENE: The Eocene Gallery features an entire wall of leaf fossils as high as visitors can see, with exhibits and other plants and animals from the Epoch in nearby display cases. There is a vast difference between this and the earlier Jurassic Gallery. In the next hall, an Eocene diorama recreates the sights and sounds of life along the shores of Lake Uinta, 45 million years ago.
ROCKS REVEALED: Visitors travel through the four main time periods in Earth’s history: Cenozoic, Mesozoic, Paleozoic, and Precambrian. A vivid mural helps visitors connect concepts about geologic time to the real places around Vernal, as experienced on the National Scenic Byway – U.S. 191 north from Vernal. Exhibits display fossils found in each period, and an up-close view of the model dinosaurs in the garden.
At this point, visitors find themselves on the second floor mezzanine, where they may look below to where their Uinta Fossil Journey began. On the floor is an 80-mile geologic and geographic map of the Vernal region.
The museum also includes special, changing exhibits on geologic time and contemporary natural environments, a classroom facility and new dinosaur garden for a full range of family educational opportunities. A wealth of information about the region’s recreational and educational activities is available at the Museum Information Center.
Leaving the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum, visitors are now prepared to identify and discover the wealth of natural history found in the Uinta Basin. Whether they explore the dinosaur tracks at Red Fleet State Park or the quarry at Dinosaur National Monument just 20 miles away, the Field House is the first stop in their dinosaur discovery.