I have visited the Glen Rose area dozens of times over the years, but had never stopped at Dinosaur Valley State Park. But with a five-year-old rock hound/fossil fan in the family, we just couldn't pass up the park last weekend.
The 100-degree heat must have warped our sensibilities, as we drove past the visitor center at the park entrance—past fiberglass models of a 70-foot Apatosaurus and a 45-foot T-Rex (great photo-ops)—and headed straight for the various track-viewing sites on the Paluxy River. The park map/brochure and information boards on site were helpful, but the river was somewhat murky and our track sightings few. It was still exciting to think of the therapods, sauropods, and duck-billed dinosaurs that had walked here before us. (Helpful—and painfully obvious—hint: Start at the visitors center, where a video, casts of tracks, maps, and other displays will help you get your bearings.) It's interesting to note that some of the tracks are on view at the American Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
We made our own footprints on the park's wooded hiking trails, and my kiddo enjoyed splashing in the Paluxy with other swimmers. (Helpful hint: Bring a swimsuit and towel, or at least a dry change of clothes!)
For next time: Just outside the park entrance is the new (and huge) Dinosaur World, which features 100-plus life-size dinosaur replicas along a winding path, a museum, a fossil dig, and a picnic area. It's fronted by a BIG gift shop (all we had time for)—think giant geodes, casts of T-Rex teeth and claws, and every dinosaur toy imaginable. We bought a cephalopod fossil and had to move on.
I'm always in search of dino-good times for my peewee paleontologist. Any suggestions?