Thursday, April 3, 2014

Visiting Glen Rose - The Dinosaur Capital of Texas

We embarked on the 4 hour drive to Glen Rose in the late afternoon, stopping in Clifton for dinner.  We sampled Johnny's Place for dinner - super friendly, so-so food.  We passed through Glen Rose well after dark and headed for our reservation at the Fossil Rim Lodge.  With our last-minute reservation we almost didn't get in the gate...  but prayers were answered and we got the gate code at the last second before we gave up!  We stayed in the Parrot Room, which had a king bed and just enough room for the full size blowup on the floor for the kiddos.  We were impressed by the step-down jacuzzi shower/tub in the bathroom but since we arrived late and left early we didn't have time to try it out.

In the morning we were first to arrive at the breakfast cabin.  The peaceful breakfast with a fabulous view of some of the park animals was half the reason we stayed at The Lodge!  We had a filling and delicious private breakfast, which was enlivened by the boys calling out animals they spotted and popping out on onto the deck to get a better view.
Part of the breakfast view

One of our breakfast visitors

View of The Lodge in the morning

The night's stay included entry into Fossil Rim Wildlife Center and was was the other half of the reason we stayed at The Lodge.  The drive-through safari was fantastic, the best one we've been on so far!  We saw and fed too many animals to list up close!  Some of our favorites were the zebras, ostriches, and elk.  We also loved seeing the giraffes, cheetahs, and rhinos not so close!  We had a picnic at the Overlook before continuing our safari.  We were glad to be in the truck since many of the animals did not hesitate to stick their heads in the window.  But the only one we had to roll the windows up for were the ostriches - just a little too close and those beaks a little too scary!

Just a few of the animals we saw on safari at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

Next we visited Dinosaur Valley State Park, just a short drive back toward Glen Rose.  The small visitor center at the ranger station/entrance was worth a stop to learn about what we'd be seeing in the park.  At The Blue Hole dinosaur track viewing area, you could see the tracks in the pond very well from above but my boys headed off down the path right away.  It was a fun little hike with some slippery steep spots, and then we climbed over broken rocks to get a closer view of the tracks submerged in the water.  The next track viewing area required crossing the river on large flat rocks placed for that purpose - a fun little adventure for my boys who don't have easy access to rivers and streams and jumping from rock to rock!  The sauropod trackway near the river was worth the crossing too!  Learn more about the discovery of the tracks and how some of them came to be at the Smithsonian here
I hope someday we'll come back and hike to the other tracks in the park!

At The Blue Hole - Submerged Three-Toed Theropod Track, thought to be from Acrocanthosaurus

We had some time before we wanted to eat dinner so we decided to check out Big Rocks Park, which turned out to be another fun chance to climb and explore and play.  We even captured a photo of a rock shaped like a heart!  After winding through the maze-like giant boulders we came to the river bank, where we threw rocks into the water, even successfully skipping some.

Adventuring at Big Rocks Park

For dinner we visited Hammond's BBQ, where we had a great dinner and enjoyed the live music!  We ended the day to our boys' surprise and delight by going swimming at the La Quinta pool.

All around Glen Rose there are huge dinosaur models advertising Dinosaur World and giraffe models advertising Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.  We drove past Dinosaur World on our way to/from Dinosaur Valley State Park.  So by Saturday morning the boys were super excited to finally go inside!  It is an expensive attraction for it's size, but it was really fun and the boys loved every minute.  The walk to see life-size (?) models of many interesting dinos was really well done, digging in the sand for actual fossils was fun for the boys, and The Boneyard where the kids work on excavating a model dino skeleton from sand was fun when not too crowded.  The good-sized playground was also very much enjoyed by our boys.  We walked through "the museum" but having recently been to the amazing paleontology hall at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, we were pretty unimpressed.  Between the playground and The Boneyard our boys could have spent several more hours getting the most out of their ticket price, but the parents' boredom soon sent us on our way...

Fun at Dinosaur World

Before getting on the road for home we visited the Storiebook Cafe for lunch.  I loved the atmosphere, the kids loved the playroom, and Brandon loved the local root beer!  The food was tasty and just what we were looking for, too!  We were also lucky enough to get to dance the twist to get 10% off our meal!

One last stop at Pie Peddlers set us up for the long drive home.  We shared a slice of the blackberry pie, the lemon chess pie, and the buttermilk pie - all of which were I-wish-I-had-a-whole-pie delicious!

Mmmm, Pie!

Glen Rose, Texas, made for a fun-filled and still relaxing weekend adventure for our family!  We hope to go back in a few years to do it all over again, and maybe next time even get a chance to visit The Windmill Farm and Creation Evidence Museum, try some more bed & breakfasts, and sample more local restaurants!


Anonymous said...

How fun! I think we're going to have to do this! Keep the adventures coming!

emily said...

I saw your comment on leslie blog! Hi Erin!! I haven't checked in on your family in a while. Looks like you're up to all sorts of fun adventures. I played basketball last night with other ladies from my ward. Made me think of all those neighborhood games at your house. :)