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Dinosaurs, fossils and bones make summer vacations fun

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Although the age of dinosaurs precedes the written historical record by many eons, nothing appeals more to our youngsters than an adventure involving dinosaurs. The adventure waits within easy reach of the Dallas-Fort Worth area at Dinosaur Valley State Park. Whether for a weekend of fun or as part of your summer vacation, the kids will enjoy viewing the life-size models of a brontosaurus and tyrannosaurus rex at the entrance to the park and the park’s educational exhibits.

The popular park’s real draw lies embedded in the shallows of the Paluxy River. Just a quick hike to the river’s edge reveals a permanent record of the very footsteps left behind by very real, albeit long-gone, dinosaurs. If you visit later in the summer when the river’s water level has dropped considerably, it may be possible to wade alongside the imprints to let the kids gaze in awe at the comparative size to their own feet, but extreme caution and adherence to park rules is advised. The park’s daily entrance fee is $7 for each adult and children 12 and under are admitted free.

Dinosaur Valley State Park is not the only point of interest in the Glen Rose area, after all, Glen Rose proudly proclaims itself the "Dinosaur Capital of Texas." Also rooted in the area’s slice of Mesozoic geology are two other attractions: Dinosaur World and the Creation Evidence Museum.

Dinosaur World is a franchise venture featuring an indoor museum of dinosaur skeletons and fossils, numerous outdoor displays of life-size dinosaur models, and a set up for kids to dig for fossils and dinosaur bones. While not as expensive or time consuming as an entertainment park, admission for adults is $12.75 each, while admission for children 3-12 is $9.75 per child, plus tax.

The Creation Evidence Museum of Texas offers an interesting and thought-provoking perspective on the timeline of earthly existence in contrast to the scientific community’s established views. The unique educational opportunity is well worth the museum’s modest entrance fee of $5 per person.

For those interested in viewing living breathing creatures instead of replicas of long-extinct species, the Glen Rose area also offers the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. Fossil Rim is a non-profit organization that began as an exotic game ranch. It was first opened to the public in 1984. Drive-through tours are priced per person, with lower prices offered on weekdays.

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