Does anyone in your family love dinosaurs? Are you considering a trip to Dinosaur National Monument?
The Utah Field House of Natural History in Vernal exceeded my family's expectations. I had visited this museum years before as a teen, and remembered a dusty, old-fashioned museum full of dusty old dinosaur bones. On our last trip, I found that the old building was gone. A new museum with indoor and outdoor dinosaur exhibits and loads of hands-on and immersive experiences for families had taken its place.
Here's what families can expect at the new Utah Field House of Natural History.
If anyone in your family loves dinosaurs, the Utah Field House of Natural History should be high on your list. Eastern Utah is chock full of dinosaur fossils, and the Utah Field House of Natural History has a nice collection. You'll see assembled dinosaur skeletons, individual dinosaur bones, exhibits about paleontology, a movie about finding fossils, and lifelike dinosaur statues everywhere in the museum.
There are exhibits about geology and other local natural history topics as well, but really, the Utah Museum of Natural History is first, and foremost a dinosaur museum.
We love places where our family can learn through play, and the Utah Field House of Natural History has installed lots of hands-on and immersive exhibits throughout the museum. Families can:
- Pretend to be a paleontologist on a realistic dig site.
- Use a brush to find buried fossils.
- Test their dinosaur knowledge with interactive quizzes and games.
- Play with dinosaur toys and models.
- Do dinosaur puzzles.
- Read dinosaur books.
- Walk back in time and see what Utah looked like millions of years ago.
- Touch real dinosaur bones.
If the weather is nice, you'll want to spend some time outdoors in the Field House garden. It's full of large and lifelike dinosaur statues, and it's a fun place for families to roam. We had the garden all to ourselves on the morning we visited, and my kids (and husband) had fun posing for photos with the dinosaurs and using their imaginations.
Junior Scientist Program
The Utah Field House of Natural History is a Utah State Park, and offers a Junior Scientist Program for children ages 3-12. These programs encourage families to dig deeper (pun intended) into the exhibits. Children will earn a souvenir badge for completing the program. Ask for details at the front desk when you arrive.
I was intrigued by the free field trip to the McKee Springs Petroglyphs that was advertised at the front desk of the Field House. It was held a few days after our visit, so we didn't get to go, but you may wish to call ahead, or keep your schedule flexible in case any special events are planned during your stay. The museum's number is 435-789-3799.
The Utah Field House of Natural History is large enough to house a herd of dinosaurs, but small enough that you can explore it all in an hour or two, and still have time to see the highlights of Dinosaur National Monument or other local attractions like the McConkie Ranch Petroglyphs. It's also a good option for a rainy day in Dinosaurland.
Disclosure: Our visit to the Utah Field House of Natural History was sponsored by Uintah County Travel and Tourism so that we could share our experience with other families. We received no additional compensation and all opinions are my own.
Good to Know
Where: 496 E. Main, Vernal, Utah
When: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm daily, April-September. Closed on Sundays, October-March.
- Adults: $7
- Seniors and children (ages 6-12): $3.50
- Children (0-5): FREE
How Long: 1-3 hours
Amenities: gift shop, restrooms, free parking