Canyon Country Discovery Center
To get a better understanding of Canyon Country and the Colorado Plateau, make sure to spend some time at the Canyon Country Discovery Center, located in Monticello. This science and nature center was developed for culturally diverse audiences with indoor and outdoor learning stations.
This is a great place for kids and adults to learn about the natural history, landscapes, people, astronomy, water, and climate of the Colorado Plateau. The center offers guided hiking and rafting trips.
For more information, call 800-525-4456, or visit ccdiscovery.org.
Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum
Located in Blanding, this incredible museum is a federal repository of artifacts located at a prehistoric authentic Puebloan village occupied between approximately 750 A.D. and 1220 A.D., The museum houses thousands of various ancient artifacts from cultures including ancestral Puebloans (Anasazi), Navajo, and Utes.
The museum complex houses one of the largest collections of ancestral Puebloan pottery and relics in the Four Corners region, including an excavated and restored kiva (a partially subterranean ceremonial room within a pueblo), giving visitors a glimpse into the ancient lifestyle and architecture.
Throughout the museum, murals created by local Bluff artist Joe Pachak reproduce rock imagery panels of San Juan County. The Spirit Windows murals include some images that can no longer be seen because they are beneath the waters of Lake Powell.
The park has archaeological exhibits, an interpretive nature trail, auditorium, and gift shop. Edge of the Cedars also has special exhibits, festivals, and events throughout the year.
A stop at this museum will not disappoint anyone interested in ancient cultures. This museum is also a great source of information for traveling in Bears Ears National Monument, and for information and maps for the Trail of the Ancients.
The park is one mile from the main intersection in Blanding. The park is open year-round: March-November 9am-5pm (4pm on Sundays), December-February 9am-2pm. Closed on holidays. Admission is $5/adult, $3/seniors and children, free/5 and under. Entrance is free with current Utah State Park Pass. There is no food available to purchase in the park. No camping is available.
The Dinosaur Museum is one of the most unique and detailed museums in the country, and maybe the world. The creative museum is all because of two very talented artists and founders of the museum, Sylvia and her late husband Stephen Czerkas.
The Dinosaur Museum has the complete history of the world of dinosaurs with some of the rarest artifacts in the paleo world. The incredible and very detailed displays were all made by hand by Stephen and Sylvia.
Both accomplished paleontologists and sculptors, they had a connection to Hollywood and sculpted dinosaurs and other creatures for the motion picture industry. The museum has the largest collection of dinosaur-related movie memorabilia in the world.
Don’t miss seeing this museum. 435-678-3454, dinosaur-museum.org.
Bears Ears Education Center
The two units making up the entire Bear Ears National Monument have become very popular in recent years. This area is unquestionably one of the most extensive archaeological areas on Earth. Some of the ruins date back to 1290 A.D. Visiting this area and these sites is simply astounding, and we all need to do so with respect.
The Bears Ears Education Center in Bluff opened September of 2019 thanks to donors from all over the world. Their mission is to teach visitors how to respectfully visit the cultural and natural spaces of Bears Ears National Monument. The center offers information on camping and hiking along with maps. Help spread their message with the hashtag #visitwithrespect. They are open 9am-5pm, Thursday-Monday. 435-414-0343, bearsearsmonument.org.
The Bluff Fort Historic Site
The first settlers of Bluff made their homes facing inward to form a fort-like protection. They had a school, a meeting house, and established a co-op trading post. There is a replica of that co-op and housing at the Bluff Visitor Center. The grounds include actual wagons and other artifacts from the Hole in the Rock journey. Kids can don period clothing and try their hand at roping wooden cows, pulling handcarts, and panning for gold.
Farming along the San Juan River proved uncertain for the early settlers, as the river either flooded or went dry too often for dependable irrigation. Many of the original pioneer families left Bluff for Grayson, Utah, now known as Blanding, 25 miles to the north.
The visitor center sells homemade fudge, books, and shows a video of the Hole in the Rock journey.
For more information, call 435-672-9995.
goulding trading post museum
Located at the Goulding’s Lodge, the museum opened in 1989 as a showcase of various artifacts showing past eras. Within the museum, you’ll find the trading post floor reminiscent of days of old, when it sold provisions in the 1920s and 1930s.
There are a vast number of memorabilia and posters from the movies filmed in the area.
There is a large gift shop specializing in Navajo art, jewelry, pottery, and more. 435-727-3231, gouldings.com.