Stunning “Moab Giants” at Utah’s Paleo-Safari!

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Last summer I visited a relatively new attraction called Moab Giants: Paleo Safari in Moab, Utah. I’m not being grandiose when I say this was one of the best dinosaur attractions I’ve ever seen! It featured a trail full of lifelike dinosaurs which were enhanced even further by the southwestern landscape. The trail was divided into four parts representing the Late Triassic, Jurassic, and Early/Late Cretaceous Periods. The admission was $16 for adults with Seniors and children 4-15 years old $12 (under 3 FREE). They also offered a 3D video presentation for an extra $5 which we chose to pass on. My buddy and I were far too eager to begin the ½ mile trail boasting over a hundred lifelike dinosaurs to watch a movie!

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After using the washroom and hydrating ourselves (an important step before starting this trail) we began our journey. The dinosaurs were arranged in order of their existence so, naturally, we started in the Late Triassic. I couldn’t believe how amazing they looked and it honestly felt like I was really in their world (with the exception of some pesky electric lines occasionally marring the effect). I honestly don’t think “beautiful” was a strong enough word to describe what I was seeing. For an old dinosaur kid like me, it was as if I’d died and gone to Heaven.

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The dinosaurs immediately became more colorful and, of course, larger when we entered the Jurassic section.

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Indeed, the Jurassic period saw dinosaurs reach immense proportions and their largest were the Sauropods! Standind at the feet of a lifelike replica gave me a perspective I’d never fully appreciated before.

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My favorite as kid was always Stegosaurus and the ones featured at Moab Giants were just gorgeous! You could totally picture them slowly walking away even though none of the dinosaurs at this attraction were animotronic.

The armored dinosaurs seen at Moab Giants weren’t too shabby either.

This attraction had a great selection of Theropods and the lion of the Jurassic was, of course, the great Allosaurus. Another thing I liked about these dinosaurs is that they never featured just one of a particular species, focusing on groups or couplings instead. This allowed for more interesting poses and scenes that managed to tell a story without the need of words nor movement.

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Next was the Eary Cretaceous. This period saw some Jurassic survivors along with the appearance of entirely new species of dinosaurs.

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Until a certain meteor found its way to Earth, dinosaurs thrived stronger than ever in the late Cretaceous. It also saw the development of feathers in certain species as well.

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Naturally, they had Tyrannosaurus Rex as their grand finale. Ironically, it was the only portion of this tour where I felt they fell short. The placement of the eyes and lips, though possible, just made it look less fearsome. In fact, at certain angles it was downright goofy. I honestly don’t know the science behind this so for all I know it might be accurate but, if it is, then it’s this forty-five-year-old guy’s equivalent of learning there’s no such thing as Santa!

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One thing you’ll want to do if visiting during the summer months is pack along some water. About halfway through they do offer restrooms and a water machine but, like everything else in Moab, it ain’t cheap. We arrived when the place opened and by the time we finished the temp was swealteing. As soon as we returned to the main courtyard we ran into the Museum for some air-conditioning. The museum was small but interesting. Definitely no where near as impressive as what was oustide but worth checking out.

Since it was lunch time we opted to eat at their little restaurant which offered dinosaur-themed foods. I would suggest that families on a budget pack their own meals instead.  The prices were high even by theme park standards and the food was nothing to write home about.

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Though Moab Giants is a bit pricey, it’s absolutely worth a detour. In fact, I’d love to go back someday as it left such a strong impression. The locale is pitch perfect and about the only thing that could have made it more convincing would have been an active volcano spewing in the background. Plan for the hot climate, bring your camera, and immerse yourself in a Paleo Paradise!

Dave Fuentes~

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