We’ve been to a lot of Dinosaur Destinations in Utah, but there was one in St. George that we’d never visited. In 2000, some developers were clearing a property known as the Johnson Farm. A large slab of sandstone flipped over, and someone noticed a perfect imprint fossil of a dinosaur footprint. Upon closer examination, the rock also had other tracks and traces. Soon, Utah had a great new site for Dinosaur lovers: St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm.
The Johnson Farm tracksite is so new that it is still becoming a museum. There is plenty to do there, and it is amazing, but we felt like if we went back in five years, the place would be entirely different. They had several displays, including a large portion of the museum floor still under construction.
The first thing you’ll do upon entering the museum is watch a five minute introductory video. I would recommend that you don’t skip the video. It only takes a few minutes, and it answered a lot of our questions. It has some cartoons as well as dinosaurs, so our boys were interested.
Next, there is a small activity room. The boys enjoyed doing dinosaur rubbings, tracing dinosaurs, making origami dinosaurs, and examining dinosaur teeth. One thing we liked about this area is that there were plenty of informative signs and displays in the craft room, so while the kids were working Mom and Dad could be looking and reading about dinosaurs. We spent a good 30 minutes in this room, and our boys probably would have stayed longer if we let them. You can visit this room at the beginning, or the end, or even both!
On the floor of the museum, there are many different sandstone chunks, each with different prehistoric markings. Most show dinosaur footprints from at least three different kinds of dinosaurs, but there are some pretty neat trace fossils of other types, too. One of the best is the dinosaur swim marks. According to the sign, there has been some debate over whether dinosaurs actually swam until this particular fossil remnant proved dinosaurs did swim. There are numerous mudcrack, ripple, tree root, and other fossils as well. You could spend hours and not see all of the fossils. At one end of the floor you can watch paleontologists working on carbon trace fossils of fish (at least that’s what they were doing when we were there). Johnson Farm is a very active dig, so there are paleontologists working everywhere.
As you make your way around the fossils, you come to a boarded walkway where they are still removing stones and finding fossils. No one was working when we were there, but you could see fossils they had uncovered recently. There are also some other track marks and fossils marked with signs as you walk on the boardwalk. This is the area of the museum that we feel will continue to change over time!
The final stop is outside for the kids. There is a small sand box for brushing off fossils, and another where you can make your own dinosaur tracks, as well as a sand pit for the kids to play in. While we were there, some museum workers were making plaster casts of fossils. It was fun to watch. There is a little path to walk around and see fossils, and a shaded pavilion to sit for adults. We spent another 30 minutes here, and once again, our boys would have stayed longer if we’d let them. All in all, plan at least an hour and a half to two hours for the Johnson Farm Dinosaur Site.
We thought this amazing dinosaur museum was well worth the price. Adults were $6, Kids were $3 and Children under 4 were FREE! They even have a group rate for groups larger than 10 so if you have a large family, or travel with some friends. For more info on their prices and hours, check their website.
Directions: St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm is located at 2180 E Riverside Drive in St. George. From the north, take exit 10 (Green Springs Dr/North Green Spring Dr) in Washington. Head west (left) off the 1-15. This road is 3050 E and it turns into Riverside Dr. The Dino site will be on the left side of the road.
From the south, take exit 6 (Utah 18) and stay to the right as you exit. Turn right on Riverside Dr. Then follow this road to the Dino museum. It will be on your right.
For more fun Dinosaur Destinations, check out our list of Utah Dino Destinations.