On May 7, the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm is opening a major new exhibit: the Lake Dixie Discovery Trail. This indoor boardwalk takes visitors out over the original dinosaur track surface to see the museum’s most rare and spectacular tracks up-close for the first time.
The grand opening of the new exhibit will be during the museum’s annual Dino Day celebration on Saturday, May 7. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and special activities all day are included with the standard price of admission. The museum will have door prizes, kids’ crafts, and a free Utah fossil with each child’s admission, and paleontologist Andrew Milner will be available to answer children’s dinosaur questions.
“The Lake Dixie Discovery Trail is a major expansion for the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site. It nearly doubles the exhibit space in our museum and shares our most important fossils with our visitors,” said Dr. Liz Freedman Fowler, executive director of the site.
The St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm houses one of the largest and best dinosaur track sites in the world. The site was discovered in 2000 when Dr. Sheldon Johnson was excavating his property for development. He uncovered exceptionally well-preserved dinosaur tracks, and worked with the city of St. George to preserve the site. The museum building surrounds and protects the original track surface, which records the busy ecosystem that lived along the edge of ancient Lake Dixie in the early Jurassic Period 200 million years ago.
“Until now, visitors could only stand on the edge of the trackway and couldn’t see the best parts of the track surface, so we are very excited that our visitors can now enjoy our most rare and beautiful tracks from this wonderful new indoor boardwalk exhibit,” Fowler said.
The new exhibit includes a rare impression left by a theropod (meat-eating) dinosaur sitting in the Jurassic mud. It is the only example in the world of this two-legged dinosaur resting its hands on the ground as well. Other rare tracks include those of running dinosaurs, small dinosaurs, and a baby dinosaur footprint. In addition to the dinosaur tracks, the site also preserves footprints of early crocodile relatives and the ancestors of mammals and houses the world’s largest collection of dinosaur swim tracks. This new exhibit is supported in part by Utah Arts and Museums with funding from the State of Utah and the Washington County RAP tax.
The St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site is open Mondays–Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 2180 E. Riverside Dr. in St. George. More information is available at UtahDinosaurs.com or by calling (435) 574-3466.