Sunday, April 20, 2014

Things to do in Moab

Over Spring Break 2014 our family went to Moab. We found all the best adventures for children located in and around the National Parks in the area (We didn't go south. There is SO much more to do in Monticello). From petroglyphs, to dinosaur tracks, to bird refuges, to museums, to ghost towns, you'll find it here! Click on the link to find out what to do in Moab:

Arches National Park: This the reason that many families come to Moab. Plan to spend at least 2 days in the park in you intend to hike Delicate Arch. There is a Junior Ranger Program and many small hikes.

Canyonlands National Park: The north end of Canyonlands, called Island in the Sky, is located north of Moab. There are hikes to several interesting places including prehistoric buildings, a geological feature called the Dome, and an arch. Plan to spend a little more than a half day at Canyonlands.

Dead Horse Point State Park: Dead Horse Point is across the street from Canyonlands. Between the two parks, plan to spend a day. Dead Horse Point has a few great vistas, a small visitor's center, hiking, and a Junior Ranger program.

Sego Ghost Town: The town of Sego existed from 1910-1955. Located just 3 miles off I-70, you can easily stop and see some old coal town ruins. There are several mostly intact shacks and a huge company store. Make sure to stop by the Sego Canyon Petroglyphs, too.

Sego Canyon Petroglyphs: There are both painted and etched rock art panels located in Sego Canyon. Some beautiful examples of prehistoric work takes you just a few miles out of your way on your trip south to Moab. Turn off at the little town of Thompson, and check out the ghost town, too.

Copper Ridge Dinosaur Track: Copper ridge dinosaur tracks just north of Moab has three different kinds of dinosaur tracks. A huge sauropod, an allosaurus and and a small track are all well preserved in the mud. The hike is short, and the track is two miles off the highway.

Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail: This short trail takes you past many dinosaur fossils embedded in the rock. Interpretive signs help you understand the fossils and their history.

Poison Spider Dinosaur Track: Poison Spider dinosaur track is located on the road to Potash. There are interesting petroglyphs to see along the drive to the trackway. A short fairly challenging climb leads you to one of the most perfect dinosaur sites we've ever seen (you can also see it through binoculars if the hike is too much).

Matheson Wetlands Preserve: The preserve is located on the outskirts of Moab and is home to many birds at the right time of year. To get away from the crowds, check out the boardwalks on the preserve.

Moab DUP Museum: The small DUP museum in Moab has limited hours, but there is an original pioneer cabin with a brush and adobe roof. We got to ring the bell by pulling a rope, too!

Museum of Moab: The Museum of Moab houses objects from the history of Moab including dinosaur times, prehistoric people times, and pioneer times. Our boys really enjoyed playing the player piano and looking for toy lizards hidden among the displays.

Kane Creek Petroglyphs: Along Kane Creek Road in Moab, you can find several stops for petroglyphs. Moon Flower Canyon and a rock with petroglyphs on all four sides including the famous "birthing scene," can all be found by driving along Kane Creek Road.


Museum of Moab


The Museum of Moab is a small museum, but has a wide variety of things to see. There are dinosaur bones and fossils, mining remnants, native american relics, pioneer items, and a section about the history of Moab. The displays are easy to see, but watch your kids because even the million year old dinosaur fossils are easily accessible to little hands.

The museum has some fun things for the kids to do. There are lizards hidden throughout the displays (40 of them!). Our boys wanted to find all of them, and it kept them interested as we wandered around. They earned a prize because they did find them all. They also had the chance to grind corn like the Native Americans did. And take a turn at the player piano...You can find out if you would have made a living in an old west saloon.

This museum is small, but we spent about an hour searching for lizards and learning about Moab. It is a little pricey for the size: $5/adult, $10/family, but we enjoyed our time at the museum. It was a nice relaxing afternoon after hiking in Arches.

The dinosaur & fossil room

Trying out the player piano

Grinding corn...it's a lot of work.

Try to find all the lizards.

There are lots of different displays to check out.
This one has old medical supplies.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mill Canyon Dinosaur Interpretive Trail

You can see the bones right in the rock.
The Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail is located just north of Moab. (Turn west at mile marker 141 and follow the signs for about 2 miles). We took a short walk (less than half a mile) past 15 interpretive signs that tell about the bones embedded in the rock.

The bones are easy to spot once you get used to their color and texture-- sort of purple and ridged amongst the conglomerate rock. Many dinosaurs roamed here including allosaurus, stegosaurus, camarasaurus, and camptosaurus. They died near a shallow sea (or possible a river) and layers of sediment covered them over before their bones disintegrated. Then mineral rich water permeated their bones and hardened. As the bones continued to decay, the minerals took their shape, leaving the fossils that you can view today.

Our boys really liked the interpretive trail. For someone traveling down from I-70 to the Moab area, the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail would be a great stop.

The interpretive signs help you spot the bones.

Even our one year old liked spotting the dinosaur bones.

I think we've worn our children out.

There is petrified wood, too.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Moab DUP


The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers museum in Moab isn't much. It's only open a few hours per week (currently 2-4 pm Wednesdays), and our visit interrupted one of their meetings. The building for the museum is nice, but the larger of the two rooms is mostly a meeting place filled with portraits of the original settlers of Moab.

In the museum portion of the building there is a room about the size of big living room with several displays. An old wooden plow is the center piece, but there is clothing, furniture, and few other items to peruse. Our boys were allowed to ring the bell by pulling a rope, which they thought was cool enough to make this stop worth it.

There are a display cases with pioneer artifacts.

The olden wooden plow

It took all three of them to ring the bell.


There is also a cabin that stands outside of the museum that was built in the 1880s. It was moved to this site and preserved. We went in, and it was interesting to see the construction of the roof: branches bundled together with adobe mud on top to keep the rain out. The walls were also chinked with mud, and there were a few pieces of furniture inside.

We are great fans of DUP museums, but most people won't want to take too much time for this one.

The cabin

Inside the cabin

Things to do in Delta

Fort Deseret
Delta might seem like it's in the middle of nowhere, but we found some really great activities for families there. If you are planning a trip near Delta, check out these cool places that we enjoyed:

Great Basin Museum: Located on Main Street in Delta, this museum has a lot of pioneer history of this area. There are great period pieces, and the museum is free (donation suggested).

Snow Goose Festival: Every year in February, migrating snow geese stop at the reservoir outside Delta. Up to 20,000 geese can be viewed in one of the most spectacular migration scenes in the western United States.

The Great Stone Face: This short hike takes you to a large basalt stone known as the Great Stone Face. Early pioneers saw the face of their slain Prophet Joseph Smith in this rock, and it became a place of pilgrimage for Delta residents.

Fort Deseret: Early pioneers in Utah built many adobe forts in the small towns of central Utah because they were afraid of the Indians. All of those forts were later taken down so the towns could advance-- except for Fort Desert. This fort still stands in a recognizable state.

Territorial Statehouse State Park: Utah's capital was originally in the small town of Fillmore just down the road from Delta. Later, for convenience, the capital was moved to Salt Lake, but not before President Millard Fillmore gave $20,000 for the building. Since those days, the capital has served as a prison, and school, and now a museum.

Yuba Lake State Park: This state park is all about camping and water sports. If you are a boater, a swimmer, or enjoy the beach, you'll enjoy your time spent at Yuba Lake State Park, which is located east of Delta.


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