There are a variety of exhibits throughout the park, taking whatever shape and form they need to best share resources and stories. Even if you cannot visit the park in person, you can check out some of the newly installed exhibitry...

Rainbow Forest Museum: Blue Mesa Room
This exhibit represents a slice of time in Petrified Forest's long history. A mural of a Triassic river ecosystem sets the stage. The surrounding panels and displays explain how scientists and artists know what the land was like over 200 million years ago. Information on fossils, river ecology, plate tectonics, climatology, and stratigraphy all contribute to the painting of that mural. There is even a simulated fossil dig pit, popular among young and old alike.
a panorama of paleontology exhibit room

The Blue Mesa room at Rainbow Forest Museum

NPS/Stephanie Metzler


Painted Desert Inn Tap Room Gallery

First it was the Painted Desert Inn's lobby. Later it became a bar and tap room. Today, it is a gallery space with revolving exhibits. Currently it showcases the evolution of the building itself in From Stone Tree House to Historic Landmark: The Story of PDI, an exhibit of words and historic photographs.

Check out a past artist-in-residence exhibition: Postcards from the Iron Camera


Faces of the Petrified Forest

Artsits-in-Residence Mary Collins and Susan McElhinney teamed up on an exhibition of words and prose highlighting the people that make Petrified Forest special. Originally displayed at Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts in January 2014, Petrified Forest is bringing "Faces" to the park for permanent display.

wayside on stone wall overlooking Painted Desert

Newly updated panel at Lacey Point


Interpretive Waysides

Petrified Forest staff is currently involved in a large project to update all the roadside informational panels, called waysides. The signs needed some maintenance, as well as an update of information. In a park with so much active research, we want to share the latest discoveries with visitors. Over 50 waysides are located along the roads and trails throughout the park explaining the landscape and covering a variety of topics specific to their locations.

three photos side by side of waysides in the field

New waysides in place (L-R): Chinde Point, The Tepees, Route 66 alignment



Painted Desert Viewpoints

Sometimes the park overlooks seem like exhibits in themselves. Certain roadside pullouts also feature an informative sign. Kachina Point is a great place to overlook the reds and oranges of the Painted Desert. More information...

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