Dinosaur State Park is a popular tourist and educational destination located in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. The park officially opened in 1968, two years after 2,000 dinosaur tracks were accidentally uncovered during excavation for a new state building. Visitors can also cast their own dinosaur footprint to take home.
The exhibit center at the park is open during normal operating hours, Tuesday to Sundays, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.
The park’s main attraction is the Dinosaur Trackway, which contains more than 500 dinosaur footprints from the Early Jurassic period, approximately 200 million years ago. The footprints were made by Dilophosaurus, a carnivorous dinosaur that was about 20 feet long and weighed up to 1,000 pounds. The trackway is protected by a geodesic dome, which allows visitors to view the footprints in their natural setting while also protecting them from weather damage.
The park contains more than 2,600 individual dinosaur footprints, most of which are classified as Eubrontes Giganteus. The main trackway was reburied in 1976 to preserve it, and only about 1/3 of the tracks remain exposed in the current domed exhibit center built around 1980. The exhibit center houses over 750 dinosaur tracks exactly where they were discovered in 1966.
Surrounding the exhibit center are more than two miles of nature trails and the Dinosaur State Park Arboretum, containing more than 250 species and cultivars of conifers, as well as katsuras, ginkgoes, magnolias, and other living representatives of plant families which appeared in the Age of Dinosaurs.
The trails cover a variety of habitats, including a red maple swamp, shrub swamp, meadows, and a forest area with sugar maple, birch, hickory, oak, and beech trees2. A traprock ridge reveals broken pieces of basaltic rock that once flowed as hot lava covering the habitat of Connecticut’s dinosaurs. The trails are open daily, year-round, weather conditions permitting.
Overall, Dinosaur State Park is a unique and educational destination for visitors of all ages. It offers a glimpse into Connecticut’s prehistoric past and provides a fun and interactive experience for anyone interested in dinosaurs and paleontology.