September 14, 2021
Morrison’s Dinosaur Ridge has long provided a unique chance to see the footprints left by dinosaurs. But starting now, visitors will also get a fresh perspective of what it might have been like to see dinosaurs walk across the area’s prehistoric landscape.
That perspective will come via a new mural covering two sides of the facility’s ticket booth at its visitor center, which depicts three dinosaurs walking across the mudflats that once characterized the area.
The dinosaurs depicted include a large stegosaurus, the first skeleton of which was discovered at Dinosaur Ridge, and two long-necked apatosaurus. Artist Julia Williams said she was also planning to draw several tracks in the mud flat to reflect the fossilized footprints that can be seen at the site.
Painting the mural has been “a perfect opportunity” for Williams, who goes by the artist name “The Designosaur” and has painted several murals around the Denver area.
“I’ve always loved dinosaurs since I was a little kid,” said Williams. “I feel quite a connection to them.”
Kristen Kidd, the marketing and communications director for Dinosaur Ridge, said that affinity for dinosaurs made Williams a natural to design a mural for the visitor’s center, which already has several painted stegosaurus figures spread around its exterior.
“Naturally when we learned about her, we were curious about what she might do here,” said Kidd in an email. “And her design knocked our socks off.”
Williams, who lives in Superior, said the opportunity was also particularly exciting because she frequently visited Dinosaur Ridge while growing up in Arvada.
“I couldn’t believe it when they called me,” she said.
One of William’s trademarks is super bright colors. The Dinosaur Ridge mural, which has a color scheme consisting of bright purple, red, orange and yellow, is no exception.
“I think it’s super warm and inviting and fun,” she said. “I wanted to bring some sort of color to this area.”
The mural isn’t the only new piece of artwork coming to Dinosaur Ridge.
In a press release announcing the new mural, Kidd explained that Golden-based artists Pat Madison and Jim Dickson will also soon be partnering on a new piece for the facility called “Eolambia.”
The release describes that piece as a life-sized geometric sculpture of a plant-eating dinosaur called an eolambia that “will resemble a Rubik’s Cube with its multi-colored design.”
The project will be visible to passing traffic along I-70, with its location and installation date to be announced soon.
Madison created a a small herd of colorful geometric triceratops (done in a similar style to “Eolambria”) last year. It can be seen at the intersection of 56th Avenue and Highway 93, just north of Golden.
Kidd said the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge paid for both projects out of its budget,
“We love that there are local artists who feature dinosaurs in their work — it just feels like a great fit with our vision of providing a place that not only educates visitors but sparks wonder and imagination,” Kidd said.
Dinosaur Ridge is also hoping to do more fun dinosaur art projects soon, she said.