Denver August 14, 2016
A Visit To This Unique Colorado Hotel Is Like Spending A Night In Jurassic Park
The Dino Hotel in Lakewood (a.k.a. Best Western Denver Southwest) just underwent a $5 million renovation from top to bottom, transforming it into Colorado’s only dinosaur themed hotel. Located just minutes from downtown Denver and “just a stone’s throw from the geological and paleontological goldmine where the Great Plains meets the Rocky Mountains,” the Dino Hotel will bring out the explorer in all of us. Take a journey through the prehistoric ages with their one-of-a-kind collection of fossils, specimens, dinosaur casts, and original art work at this truly unique, Jurassic Park-esque Colorado hotel.
Hotel owners Meredith and Greg Tally's ultimate goal in creating the Dino Hotel was to design "an immersive experience that echoes an old explorers’ club," and they certainly achieved it.
The owners commissioned exterior artwork by master muralist Tom Ward, who worked alongside the Morrison Natural History Museum's curator Matthew Mossbrucker, to create an impressively accurate geologic time mural and representation of the ancient plants and animals of Colorado.
"So what’s caught T-Rex’s attention? Why, it’s you! Please 'feed' yourself to the T-Rex, and take a picture or two."
Upon entering the lobby, which proudly displays books, fossils, dinosaur casts, and more, you'll swear you just stepped into a natural history museum.
Ready for your close up?
Every community space has touches of prehistoric flare, encouraging you to take an "interpretive walk through time" as you explore the hotel.
Meet "Jim Bob" the Allosaurus, a ferocious meat-eating predator from the Late Jurassic Period.
And have you met "The Legs" (a.k.a. Brachiosaurus femora)? Upper hind leg bones and other findings similar to these have been excavated from the Morrison Formation just a few miles from the hotel.
The Brachiosaurus was one of largest animals to ever roam the earth and would have stretched more than 80 feet in length and weighed roughly 30 tons. Wowee!
And let's not forget about "Fran."
She was a large carnivorous dinosaur that lived during the Early Cretaceous Period, was originally excavated from southeastern Oklahoma, and now resides in a museum in Raleigh, North Carolina.
'Heeeeeere's Judith!' She's a plant-eating beast that loafed about during the Late Cretaceous Period.
There are also a plethora of other specimens to behold, like this spectacular Smilodon skull (aka sabre-toothed cat)...
...or this magnificent Mastodon tooth.
The Dino Hotel also has Sandbox Dig Pit Panels, which depict what a typical bone bed from the Late Jurassic Period in Morrison, Colorado would look like.
Along with the fabulous exterior artwork, the hotel boasts interior murals with marvelous reproductions of Rudolph Zallinger's prehistoric masterpieces...
...as well as lovely reproductions of watercolors by geologist Arthur Lakes.
Morrison, Colorado, circa 1877. "Viewed from the Dakota Hogback just south of town, many of the buildings in this picture still stand today. The brick colored Late Coal Age sandstone dominating the background has another 70 years to be developed into Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Dinosaur Ridge comprises the cliffs visible in the right of the picture. The train, tracks and station in the middle of the picture are long gone. Bear Creek still meanders through town."
Dinosaur Quarry, circa 1878. "Lakes and his team work Quarry 10 along the Dakota Hogback above the little town of Morrison. In the top right, a worker fries up something to eat on a small campfire above the quarry. Jurassic dinosaur bones litter the ground."
Paleo Joe's Restaurant and Bar is a great spot to kick back and relax and boasts the only petrified wood bar in Colorado, as well as a full-size Tylosaur swimming across the ceiling.
Other amenities include complimentary breakfast, a 24-hour fitness room, a heated pool and hot tub, and plenty of other nearby restaurants and attractions like the Morrison Natural History Museum, Dinosaur Ridge, Red Rocks, and more!
Want to know some other spots that are perfect for a Mile High getaway? Try these charming
bed and breakfasts on for size.