In the 2015 film The Good Dinosaur, Arlo, an Apatosaurus, is washed down a river during a rainstorm, ending up miles from his family. A little boy named Spot decides to help him and together they travel through prehistoric Wyoming in search of Arlo’s family.
For inspiration for the film’s scenery, movie scouts traveled to Wyoming two times, exploring Yellowstone National Park, the Teton mountains in Grand Teton National Park and beyond. Stylized versions of the famed Tetons and the Oregon Buttes in Fremont County appear in the film as does the Snake River, a major attraction today for fishing and rafting enthusiasts.
The Good Dinosaur draws attention to the fact that Wyoming is home to some of the world’s best dinosaur fossil fields. Head to the University of Wyoming Geological Museum in Laramie to see a 75-foot life-sized skeleton of one of Arlo’s fellow Apatosauruses. Discovered in 1901, the Apatosaurus was unearthed near Sheep Creek in Albany County and resides in museum’s exhibit hall.
“Fans of Arlo and The Good Dinosaur can roam the same areas that real dinosaurs did in pre-historic times, learn about what life was like for these creatures and even dig for dinosaur fossils throughout the state,” says Diane Shober, executive director of the Wyoming Office of Tourism.
Top 5 Places to See Dinosaurs in Wyoming
Here are the top five places in Wyoming to see the incredible dinosaurs featured in The Good Dinosaur movie, which was released on DVD in February 2016. The state is home to some of the world’s best dinosaur fossil fields.
1. Wyoming Dinosaur Center
Be a paleontologist for a few hours, digging and cleaning dinosaur bones at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis. Home to more than 30 mounted dinosaur skeletons, the center’s incredible “Dig for a Day” program gives you a unique opportunity to literally unearth prehistoric history.
2. The University of Wyoming Geological Museum
Head to the University of Wyoming Geological Museum in Laramie to see a 75-foot life-sized skeleton of one of Arlo’s fellow Apatosauruses. Discovered in 1901, the Apatosaurus was unearthed near Sheep Creek in Albany County and resides in museum’s exhibit hall. Stop by the museum’s Prep Lab to learn more about fossil preparation.
3. Wyoming State Museum
See one of the first dinosaurs found in Wyoming, a Camptosaurus, at the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne. Part of the “R.I.P.- Rex in Pieces” exhibit, this early prehistoric Wyoming resident is just one of the many featured. The museum also features stories about the states’s wildlife and human history.
4. Tate Geological Museum at Casper College
Catch a glimpse of Lee Rex, the T. rex and Dee, one of the largest Columbian mammoths ever found, at this museum. Dig even deeper into Wyoming’s past by signing up for one of the Tate’s week-long digs where visitors excavate artifacts.
5. Paleon Museum in Glenrock
Housed in a 32,000-square-foot facility in Glenrock, this museum has fossils from Cretaceous, Jurassic and Oligocene time periods, all of which were found in the state. Tour the museum’s preparation lab to get a close-up understanding of how staff processes and cares for fossils once they are unearthed. To get your hands dirty, participate in “Day Digs” to get a crash course on what it’s like to be a paleontologist or stay longer and do a week-long “Dig School” with people from across the country.