A visit to the Dinosaur Valley State Park gives you the chance to literally walk beside the footsteps of the giants. While the huge dinosaurs have not walked in this park for thousands of years, the Paluxy River has managed to preserve them for you to be able to marvel at them at the present time.
This preservation was made possible because this part of Texas used to be a shallow sea. The mud was created from crustacean shells living in the sea at the time. What remain are the footprints of the giant animals that roamed over and dominated the earth during their time. When you see them you can only imagine them alive and searching for food along the shore.
It was a young local kid who discovered the tracks in 1909. In the past, these areas were popular as a site for dinosaur fossils. Once the tracks were identified by paleontologists, large sections were moved for preservation. Some of them include footprints of a three-toed, carnivorous theropod that is presumed to be an Acrocanthosaurus, which is a smaller relative of the T-Rex.
Another priceless find was the first sauropod (huge herbivores) trackway ever found in the world. It proved that the giant creatures actually walked on land, and not just floated on the water. Later on, the bones of the dinosaur that most likely made these prints were discovered in the area and named Paluxysaurus Jonesi, a herbivorous dinosaur that was most likely 60 to 70 feet long and 12 feet tall.
It’s another great adventure travel destination, like so many in the USA. Click here for other travel ideas. While the whole State Park is huge, the area where dinosaur tracks can be seen by exploring 20 miles of trails, on a ledge along the Paluxy River. The tracks can be seen just under the surface of the water, but sites are designated to make it easy for visitors to spot them. In all, there are about 3 main sites where the tracks were preserved. Unfortunately, the third has been affected by recent flooding that eroded some of the tracks away. But the river changes constantly, unraveling tracks that were hidden before.
Beyond the tracks, hiking and swimming on the Blue Hole are popular activities during your visit, especially when the water is hot. There are also campsites for visitors to pitch their tents and enjoy a few nights in the area. Visiting the park is easy as it is only 4 miles away from the nearest town, Glen Rose, and there are other state parks in the area that are worth a visit. Families with kids should also plan to visit the Dinosaur World that can be found close by.
Visitors will need to pay entrance fees costing $7 for a day but children below 12 years of age can go in for free. Camping overnight is also allowed, and some campsites have electricity and water, for a fee depending on the campsite you choose. A group picnic pavilion is also available that can handle up to 25 people. Horse enthusiasts can also go on horseback or take horse-drawn wagon rides to explore the area.
The Dinosaur Valley State Park is as close as you can be to roaming where the giant creatures have also walked before. Kids will surely find it amazing and a different way to experience history.