Friends of Dinosaur Ridge Announce New Visitor Center Golden, Colorado

Great news from Joe Tempel (joe_tempel@dinoridge.org) of Dinosaur Ridge (www.dinoridge.org):

The Friends of Dinosaur Ridge has purchased a building that will be renovated to become a visitor center at the north entrance of Red Rocks Park. The 4,000 sf building, dubbed the Discovery Center, will complement the existing Visitor Center on the east side of Dinosaur Ridge.

Aerial View of Dino RidgeThe Discovery Center will feature indoor and outdoor educational exhibits on dinosaurs, scientific displays, a gift shop and picnic areas for families and school groups. This new location will allow visitors at Red Rocks Park to have better access to Dinosaur Ridge. Guided bus tours of Dinosaur Ridge will be provided from both locations.

Dinosaur Ridge was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974 by the National Park Service because of the historical importance of the dinosaur discoveries (tracks and bones) that were made beginning in 1877 and the need to preserve the remaining fossils as a unique outdoor museum for educating school children and the public. Currently, Dinosaur Ridge hosts over 100,000 visitors annually with over 65,000 of those receiving a guided outdoor educational experience provided by trained volunteers and staff.

New Discovery Center Dino RidgeThe Friends of Dinosaur Ridge is a nonprofit organization that has been preserving the fossils on Dinosaur Ridge and educating the public about them since 1989. Renovation has begun and the building will be open to the public in January 2014. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $520,000, funded entirely by donations. Almost 90% of the funds have been raised, with major funding ($410,000) from the following foundations:

Harvey Family Foundation

Adolph Coors Foundation

Gates Family Foundation

Exxon Mobile Foundation

Denver Foundation Scientific and Cultural Facilities District

Greater Denver Area Gem and Mineral Council

Chevron Foundation

Xcel Energy Foundation

Bandimere Family Foundation

Additional funding ($50,000) was provided by 85 individuals including board members, members of the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge and other scientists and dinosaur enthusiasts. “We have been incredibly grateful for the support we have received for this project,” said Joe Tempel, Executive Director of The Friends of Dinosaur Ridge. “People in Colorado know what a unique and interesting scientific artifact we have right in our own backyard, and they have been excited to help us share it with school children and visitors alike.”

The Friends of Dinosaur Ridge purchased the building and property in February and are in the process of raising additional funds to renovate the building to bring it up to code, add handicapped bathrooms, install indoor and outdoor educational exhibits, and set up displays for merchandise. The Friends plan on raising another $60,000 from interested individuals, corporations and other organizations to complete the final phase of the project. This final phase will consist of installing the outdoor educational exhibits, a front porch to provide a covered area for people waiting for a tour bus, and repaving the existing 40-car parking lot.

If you are interested in contributing to the project or have questions with regard to the project, please contact Joe Tempel, Executive Director of The Friends of Dinosaur Ridge at Joe_Tempel@Dinoridge.org or call him at 720-971-9649.

About the author /


Michelle Poolet

PLAN Jeffco Board Member. Michelle Poolet is a relative new-comer to PLAN Jeffco, but not to the world of volunteer work. She has been on the Board of PLAN Jeffco since 2008, and in that time has worked hard to ensure the success of various PJ conferences and events. She is part of the PLAN Jeffco web content subcommittee, and liaisons between the PLAN Jeffco Board and the Open Space Advisory Committee. Her “day job” is as President and Chief Enterprise Architect of Mount Vernon Data Systems, a BBB A+ accredited database consulting company. Michelle lives on Lookout Mountain, in unincorporated JeffCo, with her best pal, TessaRose the collie, with whom she enjoys daily trekking in the forests.

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