Step back in time and embark on a prehistoric journey like no other at Dinosaur Ridge! Our story begins with a remarkable discovery—the very first Stegosaurus, the state fossil of Colorado, was unearthed right here in 1877. But that's just the beginning; our landscapes are teeming with iconic dinosaurs, including the duckbill Eolambia, the fearsome Allosaurus, the ostrich-like ornithomimid, and the majestic Apatosaurus.
The tale of Dinosaur Ridge doesn't stop with ancient fossils; it's a story of passionate individuals. The Friends of Dinosaur Ridge (FoDR) started in 1989 with just 10 dedicated volunteers, gathering in a small rented hall to share their fascination with these fossils and the drive to protect them. Fast forward to today, and our family has grown to include 200 members, 40 staff members, a remarkable 120 volunteers, and we host over 250,000 visitors yearly.
Our journey towards preservation and education continued to evolve. Fifty years ago in 1973, Dinosaur Ridge was recognized as a National Natural Landmark by the Department of the Interior. In 1994, we found a permanent home in a historic house on the Rooney Ranch, a 1.4-acre property acquired by Jefferson County to become our Visitor Center.
As time marched on, we opened the incredible Triceratops Trail at the Fossil Trace Golf Club for the public to explore in 2004. This fossil-rich route features tracks from a tyrannosaur, Triceratops, mammals, birds, insects, and giant palm frond impressions, all of which tell the story of a more tropical climate in what is now Golden, Colorado.
In 2008, FoDR introduced guided bus tours and completed our awe-inspiring indoor exhibit hall, Trek Through Time. The year 2013 brought a momentous addition to our family as the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge purchased a building on the west side of Dinosaur Ridge, the "Discovery Center," which opened its doors in 2014. We set our sights on attracting a share of the millions of visitors drawn to the captivating Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater.
Join us in protecting this paleontological gem where prehistory comes alive, and where dinosaurs once roamed. Dinosaur Ridge is not just a place; it's an outdoor museum showcasing our planet's incredible history, brought to life by a passionate community that is determined to share this awe-inspiring story with the world.