Visiting The Quarry In Fall And Winter
All visitors can now see the famous Quarry Exhibit Hall. It is ranger-guided only during the winter season. The exhibit hall is the building that was closed for 5 years for structural repairs. It is 100% open and available 7 days a week. The only days the visitor center and quarry will be closed is Thanksgiving Day, Christmas, and New Years Day. The park itself is open year round 24 hours/day.
The last access to the Exhibit Hall is at 4:00 p.m. The Visitor Center closes at 5:00 p.m.
Visiting Through February 2012
First stop at the Quarry Visitor Center to meet the ranger. Rangers guide car caravans up the hill on demand but are only able to take one group up at a time, so expect possible delays up to 30 minutes. There is a 12 minute film, exhibits, and a bookstore in the visitor center to look at for visitors who have to wait.
The park would like to thank all visitors for their patience over the last few years. Engineers and the National Park Service had to troubleshoot a very complex engineering and construction challenge to rebuild the structure over the bones. The area around the bones is made up of clay bentonite soil that expands when it gets wet and contracts when it dries. This clay movement is what damaged the original quarry exhibit hall beyond repair. The new structure is visually identical to the original structure except that the visitor center is now 1/2 mile from the quarry along Cub Creek Road.
What is special about the new Quarry structure? The new building is not built 'on' the clay. It has a steel micropile columns that extend to bedrock about 70 feet below the clay, thus the building stands like a pier over water. However in this case the structure sits over unstable clay that rises and falls. The only part of the building that touches the clay is the floor of the quarry, but it is made of up of interlocking rubber pavers like puzzle pieces that can be lifted up if the floor heaves. When this happens, the clay is leveled and the pavers replaced. The new building design should keep the structure independent of clay expansion and contraction from now on. Even the exhibits sit on extended arms that come off the bedrock-grounded micropiles. They look like they are sitting on the floor of the visitor center but they aren't!
It is expected that the new structure and its the hidden engineering accomplishments should provide the public many decades of use and enjoyment.
Did You Know?
Dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago, but lizards are still a common sight at Dinosaur National Monument. The small, inquisitive reptiles have endured on Earth for more than 300 million years, far outlasting their giant cousins.