Great Family Adventures: Utah Dinosaur Dig With the Museum of Western Colorado

Yes, we know: The family vacation is a much-parodied event, and perhaps rightfully so. But fumbles, foibles, and hassles aside, families keep taking them for the same good reason: They’re priceless sources of memories.

    Photo: Nils Knötschke/Wikimedia Commons

HIGHLIGHTS: Almost all children are captivated by dinosaurs. To get their attention off the big purple one and onto the outdoors, book one of the Museum of Western Colorado’s “Dino Digs.” Ages five and older participate in hands-on excavations with professional paleontologists—imagine how your child will feel when she helps find and unearth the fossilized bones of ancient species. Surrounding you will be the Morrison Formation’s 150-million-year-old badlands, where dinosaurs roamed the red-rock cliffs and canyons. After the dig, drive the family two hours to Aspen or Telluride, or check out nearby Grand Mesa.

OUTFITTER: The Museum of Western Colorado, in Grand Junction, offers a range of trips and tours. It gets more than 117,000 visitors per year, 17,000 of which are students on field trips.

ITINERARY: From the Museum of Western Colorado to the paleontological site (often near Fruita, Colorado) and back.

DATES: Available between mid-May and mid-September. (Departure dates fills quickly, as each trip is limited to 10 participants.)

PRICE: One-day digs cost $125 per person (including transportation, instruction, and lunch); a two-day dig costs $525 per person (including transportation, instruction, and lunches); three-day digs cost $699 per person (including transportation, instruction, lunches, one dinner, and a rafting excursion); a four-day dig costs $925 per person (including transportation, instruction, lodging, most meals, and college credit for qualified students); a five-day Moab expedition costs $1,199 per person (including instruction, lodging, transportation in Colorado and Utah, five lunches, and two dinners).

INFO:, (888) 488-3466.

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