Feb 1, 2013 7:58 PM by David Ortiviz
A group in Canon City dedicated to dinosaurs is fighting its own extinction. After 17 years in operation, the Dinosaur Depot Museum is closing. "This closure to me is like a slow funeral," said Pat Monaco, a founding board member for the Garden Park Paleontology Society.
Monaco and the other volunteers fought tears as the said goodbye today. The tourist destination off Highway 50 in Canon City, once attracted 20,000 visitor a year. However like the mammoth creatures which once roamed the Earth, visitors slowly vanished. "Our visitation was down by at least 30%," said Monaco.
Monaco says closing the museum and scientific lab is a reality, at least for now. "We would like to not go extinct as far as having a facility," said Monaco.
The museum has dug up some amazing fossils in their time. Their proudest find is a 24-foot long stegosaurus. "This is the most complete Stegosaurus ever located," said Jon Stone, President of the Dinosaur Depot Museum.
The gigantic fossil was found in Garden Park, a federally protected land just 8 miles north of Canon City. "It actually required a helicopter from Ft. Carson to remove it," said Stone.
Stone's convinced local paleontologist have only scratched the surface. "Are there more world class fossils out there? Absolutely," said Stone.
For now their focus is finding a new, larger home to expand their exhibits and preserve a piece of Colorado history. In the meantime they've made arrangements to store their fossils at other locations.
The Dinosaur Depot Museum will remain open until March 3. Admission is $4. The museum is located at 330 Royal Gorge Blvd. #A. Their phone number is 719-269-7150.