A Day at Dinosaur Valley State Park

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Our family took a day trip to Dinosaur Valley State Park in December – a COVID-safe activity

Like so many other families, when the world around us began to shut down in March, we were left stunned. Since that time, we’ve quarantined, worn masks, avoided play dates, parties and public parks. After a year of trying new hobbies and DIY home renovations, we just wanted to get out of the house and go on a trip.

I have only recently learned that Texas has a thriving state park system that contain so many amazing natural wonders. I have a childhood friend who began taking her family to different state parks to avoid more crowded venues like amusement parks. Her instagram feed has been full of amazing rock formations and pretty cool wildlife (they almost literally ran into a BISON, y’all). I talked to my husband and we decided to give it a try. I googled “Texas State Parks Near Me” and quickly excluded the parks located within Dallas and Fort Worth – I’m trying to avoid people, here. I’ve road tripped to almost every city in Texas – not exaggerating – and for some reason I just never gave the state parks a look.

We chose Dinosaur Valley State Park because we figured it would be cool to see some fossilized dinosaur prints. Our children were more excited about a two hour drive where they’re allowed to bring snacks in the car than they were about the dinosaur tracks, to be honest. We purchased tickets ahead of time, online. The price was $7 per adult over 12 years old, so pretty cheap for entrance.

Not long after we arrived, the kids woke up and started acting like kids again. They were jumping on rocks, splashing through the river, climbing rock formations so high that I was scared to death. I deal with a chronic back issue so while I was unable to participate in some of the extreme climbing and such that the kids wanted to do, I was able to take easier trails around and meet them on the other side. This park is designed with trails of all difficulties, so while the kids and I were having a blast on a short trail by the river, there were miles of other trails for more seasoned hikers who seek more challenging terrain. You can download the Dinosaur Valley State Park trail map below or visit the website here.

Dinosaur Valley has two types of dinosaur tracks. To the left are the Acrocanthosaurus tracks. I’m not a dinosaur expert and I’m not going to pretend to know a ton about these. What I know is that a giant ass animal ran through Texas millions of years ago and somehow no hurricane or tornado or river or storm or other giant ass animal disturbed the footprints for millions of years so in a shitty pandemic year my family was entertained by coming to look at these old fossils.

Here is what scientists depict as “courtship behavior” but I think the two dinosaurs in the back have already gone past that point.

The rest of the day was lovely. We did some hiking and spent some money in the gift shop. The kids had a blast and we are actively looking for the next state park to visit. We might even go when there isn’t a pandemic! I’ll include a gallery of pictures for your enjoyment, although none of them can top the pair of dinosaurs above. Here are the details you need to plan your trip:

Dinosaur Valley State Park

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