A Dino Filled Day in Glen Rose, TX : Dinosaur Valley State Park + Dinosaur World
As the mother of a dinosaur obsessed toddler, Glen Rose, Texas has been on our travel list as the “Dinosaur Capital of Texas”. Since purchasing the Texas State Park Pass, we’ve specifically been wanting to visit Dinosaur Valley State Park. When I started to research the area, I found that Dinosaur World was conveniently down the road. We were able to commute from West Texas and spend the day doing everything dinosaur! Here’s what we found:
Dinosaur Valley State Park
After catching a quick lunch in Glen Rose at the Big Cup Eatery (serves American + Mexican cuisine and home of the biggest biscuits in Texas), we made our way to Dinosaur Valley State Park around 2 PM on a Friday. To be honest, the park was a little busier than I anticipated, so I was happy that we booked our day pass in advance, for an easier check in process.
The entrance to Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, TX
As you pull into the park, you can’t miss the huge dinosaur replicas and gift shop, so of course, this was our first stop. The shop has a good selection of souvenirs, and we did not leave empty handed.
The dinosaur replicas at the Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, TX
We looked at the map and decided to move on to the Ballroom Track Site/Blue Hole area first. Coming from the parking area is a well groomed trail down to the Ballroom Track Site. This is located on a nice low part of the Paluxy River that is walkable the entire width; the depth can vary, but we got lucky on our visit to have shallow, clear water below our knees.
Entrance to the Ballroom Track Site from the main trail at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, TX
The thought of swimming never really crossed my mind, but when we entered the water, I wished I had my bathing suit on. We also weren’t equipped with the best footwear (we had sandals on), but didn’t find it to be a big issue. If anything, I would suggest water shoes or sandals that can be submerged for extra grip – the rock layer beneath the water was quite slippery – so be mindful of that!
But back to the dinosaurs – we found the best dinosaur tracks at the Ballroom Track Site area. We were able to get up close, which was pretty incredible.
One of the tracks observed from the Ballroom Track Site at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, TX
After seeing this portion of the river, we walked back up the trail, past our entrance point to view the Blue Hole area. Several people were swimming here, and again, I wished I had a bathing suit on.
As we walked back to the parking area from Blue Hole, we saw two park rangers. They were wonderful with my daughter and sensed her excitement about seeing the dinosaur tracks. Before parting ways, they invited her to be a Junior Park Ranger, swore her in, and gave her an official badge to wear. This was truly a memorable experience – thank you to the two rangers who took the time to do this!
More tracks from the Main Track Site at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, TX
A rock path from the entrance to the Main Track Site at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, TX
After the excitement of becoming a Junior Park Ranger, we headed north toward the Main Track Site. This area was quieter than the Ballroom Track Site, but we didn’t see the tracks as clearly there. They had an area blocked off, protecting some of the tracks, but that was about all we saw. After exploring this section, we decided to head to Dinosaur World.
Main Entrance to Dinosaur World in Glen Rose, TX
Unfortunately, we arrived at Dinosaur World at 4:25, and it was closing at 5:00: for some reason I thought we had until 6:00… To purchase admission tickets, you must pass through the gift shop, which was a huge distraction and tease for our little one – especially while under a time crunch.
We managed to distract her past to pay our admission and headed outside to the trail. In a nutshell, Dinosaur World is a paved trail system with over 100 life-sized dinosaurs, all displayed with identifying signage and fun facts. This trail covers over 20 acres, so definitely plan for a few hours here (unlike we did)…
Some of the replica dinosaurs we viewed along the trail at Dinosaur World in Glen Rose, TX
Although our pup stayed behind on this trip, Dinosaur World is pet friendly to well behaved dogs on leashes. They also allow coolers with snacks and drinks inside the park; if you forget yours, a drink vending machine is on site.
We didn’t have time to look through the gift shop, but it was more extensive than the one at Dinosaur Valley State Park – so I’d save my money to buy souvenirs here if you’re visiting both. Unfortunately, the playground, gem and fossil dig attractions were closed at this time, but the trail truly has more than enough to keep you busy. If you’d like an even longer dinosaur experience, you can camp right at Dinosaur Valley State Park or the nearby Dinosaur Valley RV park!
HOW TO: Glen Rose, TX : Dinosaur Valley State Park + Dinosaur World
TO DO BEFORE YOU GO:
Texas State Parks appreciates if you have a day use reservation in advance. At Dinosaur World, we arrived for the last hour of admission and found it was very quiet!
Water bottles, backpack, water shoes, bathing suit
Music, books, coloring, downloaded shows (last resort) and just enjoying the ride!
Before we went to Dinosaur Valley State Park, we grabbed lunch at the Big Cup Eatery which had tons of breakfast and lunch options at a great price.
There are lots of parking lots - you can also camp at the Dinosaur Valley State Park
BONUS – ADVENTURE STAPLES:
Wipes! Lots of snacks, activities/coloring, charged devices. We also always try to have a full tank of gas when we hit the road.
This incredible article was written by Christy Curran. You can find more helpful Adventure tips and tricks on Christy's blog (https://www.livingforthree.com) and through her Instagram (@living.for.three)