Salazar to open new center

visit ... Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will dedicate the new Quarry Visitor Center at the Dinosaur National Monument, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011. Salazar will be the keynote speaker at the ribbon cutting ceremony. The new 10,500 square foot quarry exhibit hall will open to the public Oct. 4. It has been more than five years since the public has seen the dinosaur fossils. courtesy photo
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will dedicate the new Quarry Visitor Center at the Dinosaur National Monument, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011. Salazar will be the keynote speaker at the ribbon cutting ceremony. The new 10,500 square foot quarry exhibit hall will open to the public Oct. 4. It has been more than five years since the public has seen the dinosaur fossils. courtesy photo

RBC I Dinosaur National Monument’s renowned fossil quarry will reopen to the public early next month, one week after Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar dedicates the park’s new Quarry Visitor Center nearby, superintendent Mary Risser announced. Secretary Salazar will be the keynote speaker at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 28, for the new 7,595 square foot visitor center. The public is invited to the 10 a.m. event, which formally unveils new exhibits explaining the monument and its features, an auditorium for programs and viewing of park films, a monument information desk and the park bookstore. One week later, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, the new 10,500 square foot Quarry Exhibit Hall will open to the public. The hall, built over the site of the world-famous Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry, provides close viewing of almost 1,500 dinosaur bones from the Jurassic Period, all exposed on the cliff face where they were deposited about 149 million years ago. The new exhibit hall will also feature information and displays about the Jurassic environment and its inhabitants. “Oct. 4 is the 96th anniversary of the creation of the original 80-acre Dinosaur National Monument,” Risser said. “This will be the first time that the public will be able to see the dinosaur fossils in more than five years. What an exciting way to mark Dinosaur’s founder’s day. The National Park Service and Uintah County invite the public to join us in this celebration.” Exhibits in the new visitor center, now located down the hill and separate from the fossil quarry, will introduce visitors to Dinosaur National Monument’s natural resources, homesteading history, petroglyphs, geology, paleontology and rivers. They are designed to stimulate the interest of visitors and encourage them to explore the 210,000 acre monument on their own. Interpretive and educational items also will be available for sale in the Intermountain Natural History Association’s bookstore. The ribbon cutting for the visitor center was scheduled one week earlier so that the public can see the new interpretive exhibits as soon as they are installed. “The grand opening of the fossil quarry hall is a week later – still the original opening date – because of the added complexity of that building’s construction and additional time needed to install its exhibits and clean the fossil wall,” Risser added.