Dinosaur State Park And Arboretum
Dinosaur State Park
and Arboretum
Connecticut State Park
Dinosaur State Park (Rocky Hill, CT) - dome.JPG
The park's geodesic dome
Country  United States
State  Connecticut
County Hartford
Town Rocky Hill
Elevation 187 ft (57 m) [1]
Coordinates 41°39?03?N 72°39?28?W / 41.65083°N 72.65778°W / 41.65083; -72.65778Coordinates: 41°39?03?N 72°39?28?W / 41.65083°N 72.65778°W / 41.65083; -72.65778 [1]
Area 80 acres (32 ha) [2]
Opened 1968
Management Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Location in Connecticut
Website: Dinosaur State Park
Designated April 1968
Close-up of Eubrontes prints

Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum is a state owned and operated natural history preserve occupying 80 acres (32 ha) in the town of Rocky Hill, Connecticut. The state park protects one of the largest dinosaur track sites in North America. Its Jurassic-era sandstone-embedded fossil tracks date from about 200 million years ago.[3]


The Rocky Hill dinosaur tracks were uncovered in 1966, adding to the extensive legacy of fossil discoveries made in the Connecticut Valley since the 19th century.[3] A bulldozer operator noticed the tracks while excavating the site for a new state office building.[4] The site opened as Dinosaur State Park in 1968, the same year its 7-acre (2.8 ha) dinosaur trackway was memorialized as a Registered National Landmark.[5]


Geodesic dome

The park's 55,000-square-foot (5,100 m2) geodesic dome (see picture at right) encloses some 500 tracks while another 1,500 remain buried for preservation. The tracks are from the early Jurassic period and were made over 200 million years ago by a carnivorous dinosaur similar to Dilophosaurus. The tracks bear the name Eubrontes, the term for fossilized footprints invented by geologist Edward Hitchcock. The tracks range from 10 to 16 inches (410 mm) in length and are spaced 3.5 to 4.5 feet (1.4 m) apart.

In addition to the tracks, the dome houses life-sized dioramas of plants and creatures, including Dilophosaurus, that depict the Triassic and Jurassic periods; interactive displays; a reconstruction of a geologic foundation; and an exhibit depicting highlights of the unearthing of the tracks in 1966. A discovery room houses lizards, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and dinosaur-related arts and crafts. Rock slabs with other Connecticut Valley fossil tracks, including large four-toed Otozoum tracks with visible skin impressions, can also be seen.[4]


The arboretum's 2 miles (3.2 km) of trails pass through some 250 species and cultivars of conifers, plus collections of arborvitae, chamaecyparis, ginkgo, juniper, katsura, pine, sequoia, and magnolia. Rarer species in the collection include the evergreen southern magnolia and monkey puzzle. The addition of woody plants from Cretaceous angiosperm families has been part of the arboretum's attempt to grow as many representatives of Mesozoic-era plant families as the site's New England climate will allow.[6]

Events and activities

The park offers educational films, guided trail walks, and lectures. Warm-month activities include footprint track casting and mining for gems and fossils.[7] In August, Dinosaur State Park Day offers games, arts and crafts activities, and live music.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Dinosaur State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ "Appendix A: List of State Parks and Forests" (PDF). State Parks and Forests: Funding. Staff Findings and Recommendations. Connecticut General Assembly. January 23, 2014. p. A-1. Retrieved 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Dinosaur State Park". Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Retrieved 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "The Trackway at Dinosaur State Park". Friends of Dinosaur Park and Arboretum. Retrieved 2013. 
  5. ^ "Dinosaur Trackway". National Natural Landmarks. National Park Service. Retrieved 2015. 
  6. ^ "The Arboretum of Evolution". Friends of Dinosaur Park and Arboretum. Retrieved 2013. 
  7. ^ "Footprint Casting at Dinosaur State Park". Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Retrieved 2015. 
  8. ^ "Dinosaur State Park Day". Friends of Dinosaur Park and Arboretum. Retrieved 2013. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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