Dinosaurs in the Mountains

For my second day in Denver with Cade, we set off into the mountains. For our big day of adventure and hiking, we rented a car 1) because the mountains are too far away from Denver to get there any other way and 2) it allowed us to fit multiple things in one day. First up for the day was Red Rocks and the famous Amphitheatre. Upon arriving at the park, we started our trek off with a short (~1.5 mile) hike through the Red Rocks. 20150731_093334 20150731_094318 20150731_095238 20150731_100038 20150731_100602















After our hike through the rocks, we headed over the Ampitheatre. I had heard about this before as famous bands have played here and talk about how the natural acoustics are amazing, but I never really thought about being here. After the big trek just to get up to it, I was shocked at how big it was and how beautiful the views of the Red Rocks are. I could definitely see enjoying a concert there and occasionally taking a minute to just stare at the surroundings. One disappointment was that they were getting ready for a concert that night, and while we got to go into the amphitheatre to wander around, they had tons of beer stands up..but weren’t selling any beer. To top it off, the whole place had this looming alcohol smell from all the millions of spills I’m sure it’s seen over the years. So, needless to say I was ready for an after-hike beer. 20150731_102459











It amazed me how people used the amphitheatre as a place to exercise. It seemed like an excellent place but forget running up all those steps.



Next up was a trek with the dinosaurs. Super close to the Red Rocks was Dinosaur Ridge, and we knew we had to go the instant we heard the name. During our hike here we got to see some fossils, learn about how dinosaurs used to inhabit the area, and touch dinosaur footprints. 20150731_115507






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We also got a nice alternate view of Red Rocks.









Oh, and of course we couldn’t go to Dinosaur Ridge without our trusty travel companions.
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After our hikes and encounters with dinosaurs, we had a picnic with some ant guests, then noticed that some rain clouds were rolling over the hills. In the hopes of being indoors while the rain passed through, we headed to the Natural History Museum located in the time town of Morrison. We really lucked out with a school group having just left and were offered a private tour. We happily took it and ended up learning far more about dinosaurs than I ever had. For instance, did you know that Stegosauruses are born the size of about a guinea pig? Then, they grow up to be these huge things with giant plates on their backs. Here’s a picture of their footprint throughout life.20150731_134949




See how tiny their feet are at birth!




We also learned about the dinosaurs of nightmares, ones that have a third eye on top of their head and extra set of teeth on their inner mouths that hook prey and pull them in. Then, we found out that there’s an animal alive today that still has these features. Luckily, it’s a much tinier version than its ancestors.

We also came across a skeleton of the Pteranodon, which is the star characters in Dinosaur Train.

The crazy third eye, extra teeth guy is the back, left one.
The crazy third eye, extra teeth guy is the back, right one.









Finishing up the tour, we were taught how to excavate a fossil. So, you know, got to be a paleontologist for a couple minutes, no big deal. 20150731_142347







Our last adventure for the day was to head up to Lookout Mountain. This gave us great views of the town of Golden below and also is the burial site of Buffalo Bill. When we reached his grave, Cade provided me with a much more informative education on the life of Buffalo Bill than school ever could.20150731_150125 20150731_150151 20150731_152019












With the promise of bison burgers and homemade candies, we finished up with some dinner at the lodge that was conveniently located right in between the parking lot and Buffalo Bill’s grave.20150731_154204




With a full day behind us, we headed back towards town to relax for the evening. But wait, after a super active day and being on vacation, it was time of some beer! Lucky for us we found this adorable backyard micro brewery just down the mountain in Golden that we stopped at to begin our evening relaxation and talk about our adventures.DCI-10-26-300x169 DCI-10-B-5-e1438971666883-169x300







It was quite a jammed packed day but incredibly fun, and we definitely got our workout in for the day. After finishing our beers and getting some dinner we needed to make sure to rest up for more adventures the next day.

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