Long before grizzlies and bighorn sheep roamed the Rockies, Montana's claim to fame was wildlife of a different kind -- dinosaurs. About 60 million years ago, the region was tropical. Local dinosaurs included the Tyrannosaurus rex, Apatosaur, and Triceratops, all of which thrived until a shift in climate wiped them out. This rich prehistory is told at Bozeman's Museum of the Rockies, home to the largest collection of American dinosaur bones in the world, nearly all of which were discovered in Montana. Under the umbrella of Montana State University, the museum gives insight into a world-class dinosaur research center.
©2006 Paul Jones. All Rights Reserved.
The world-class dinosaur exhibits at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman,
Montana, include the skull of a T. rex -- and its jagged smile. Outside the
museum, a living-history farm offers a peek back in time into the lives of the
Gallatin Valley's pioneers.
The museum is in large part the brainchild of Dr. Jack Horner, a celebrated paleontologist and consultant to the Jurassic Park films. Visitors begin with a crash course on the history of the Rockies, starting with the Big Bang theory. Then they explore the dinosaur exhibits. Some displays showcase casts, and others hold real fossils, including the largest dinosaur skull in the world (a nine-foot Torosaurus noggin) and a T. rex femur that amazingly revealed soft tissues that had been preserved inside for 68 million years.
The Museum of the Rockies provides comprehensive displays that go well beyond the typical dusty collection of giant skeletons. The exhibits dig into dinosaur biology and behavior, as well as the science and research that goes into fossil recovery and paleontology.
Museum of the Rockies Information
Address: 600 W. Kagy Blvd
Hours of Operation:
- Sept - May: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Mon. - Sat. and 12:30 p.m. - 5 p.m., Sun.
- May - Sept: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., daily
Admission: $9.50 adults; $6.50 kids
To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
- Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
- Montana State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Montana, as well as other recreational activities.
- Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.