Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Announces Dinosaur State Park Day on Saturday, August 16, 2008

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Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Announces  Dinosaur State Park Day on Saturday, August 16, 2008The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Friends of Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill announce Dinosaur State Park Day (special programs 10:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m.) on Saturday, August 16, 2008 celebrating the discovery of 2,000 early Jurassic dinosaur footprints in Rocky Hill. In addition to regular park programs, there will be outdoor activities including: two live animal shows, live performers, visits with Smokey Bear and Dilly the Dilophosaurus, crafts, games for the whole family with prizes, face painting and more.

OUTDOOR PROGRAMS

Dilly the Dilophosaurus and Smokey the Bear will be on hand to greet visitors.

11:00 a.m.   Amphitheater

Live animal program presented by Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport.

1:00 p.m.    Amphitheater

Live animal program, “Modern Dragons” presented by Brain Klienman of Riverside Reptiles in Simsbury. It will feature a variety of species of lizards.

Nature Walks

There will be guided walks of the park’s nature trails during the afternoon. Pets are not allowed on the nature trails or in the museum (This does not apply to service animals).

Mining

Visitors who are interested in mining for gems and/or fossils can purchase bags of “mining rough” in the Park’s bookstore to participate in this activity. The mining sluice will be open from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Casting of Dinosaur Tracks

The park’s unique track casting area will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Visitors who bring 10 lbs of Plaster-of-Paris and a ¼ cup of cooking oil can make a life size dinosaur footprint to take home. Please only 1 cast per family or group.

Refreshments

Food concessions will be available on park grounds on the day of the event.

The special outdoor programs, which also include crafts, games and face painting, will run from 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.

INDOOR PROGRAMS

Admission fees for the museum are $5.00 for adults, $2.00 for children ages 6-12 and children under the age of 6 are free. In the museum there will be continuous education programs and films throughout the day. (The park accepts Master Card, Visa, cash and checks. No debit cards or American Express are accepted.) The Park’s Bookshop will have a variety of specials on merchandise unique to the park. All special activities are sponsored by the Friends of Dinosaur State Park.

Programs will include a variety of films, including the Park’s own original film, “Step Into the Early Jurassic,” live animal demonstrations, and fossil and geology programs. In the museum, visitors will also have an opportunity to view over 500 early Jurassic dinosaur footprints and museum displays. The Park’s museum is built directly over the trackway of footprints, preserved in gray sandstone.

The museum will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

HISTORY OF DINOSAUR STATE PARK

In August 1966, bulldozer operator Edward McCarthy was excavating a rocky site for a state building. He turned over a slab of gray sandstone and discovered six large, three-toes dinosaur footprints. Officials, local scientists and the media were notified, and news of the discovery quickly spread. Many more tracks were uncovered and the site was fenced in and guarded. Within a few short weeks, then Governor John Dempsey declared the site a state park. Two seasons of careful excavation resulted in one of the largest on-site displays of dinosaur tracks in the world.

The Parks’ tracks are named Eubrontes, which is the Connecticut State Fossil. No remains of the dinosaur that made these tracks have been found in the Connecticut area. However, most scientists agree that the trackmaker was a carnivorous dinosaur similar in size to Arizona’s Dilophosaurus. The park’s trackway is a registered National Natural Landmark.

Today, Dinosaur State Park attracts over 50,000 visitors annually. A unique domed museum, built directly over the tracks, showcases over 500 footprints for public viewing, along with related exhibits, a theater, a gift shop and a demonstration room. The park sits on a 60-acre site and outdoors includes 2 ½ miles of nature trails, a butterfly garden, an outdoor picnic area and a casting area. The museum is open to the public year-round Tuesday- Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Both the trails and the bookshop have an earlier closing time of 4:00 p.m.

Directions

The museum is located 1-mile east of I-91 off Exit 23.

To learn more, please contact Dinosaur State Park at (860) 529-5816.