MESA COUNTY, Colo. – Local museums are now open to visitors after closing in March due to the pandemic. The Museum of the West opened Friday, June 26th and Dinosaur Journey opened on June 18th.Cross Orchards Historic Site. Meanwhile, because Cross Orchards Historic Site is an outdoor facility, it has already been open for a few weeks, but its farmers market relaunched on June 20th.
“I am really really really excited,” said Gabriela Guerin, an upcoming 4th grader, “My mom and I just wanted to check this place out because when I grow up, I want to be a paleontologist.”
According to Kaia Michaelis, Executive Director of Museums of Western Colorado, she came to the perfect place. “Especially if you have a child who has a particular interest, whether that’s dinosaurs or mountain man, we have something in our museums that can really help catch their imagination and get them interested in learning again,” said Michaelis.
Whether you’re at Dinosaur Journey, Cross Orchard Historic Site, or the Museum of the West, many interactive displays are closed.
“Because we want this to be a safe experience, but there’s still a lot where you can learn about the history of Colorado,” Michaelis.
According to students at Dinosaur Journey, there are plenty of things to learn. “Seeing how big the teeth are and how big the heads are,” said Landon, an upcoming 2nd grader.
“Like the different shapes and sizes and stuff,” said his sister Reagan, an upcoming 4th grader.
According to Landon and Reagan, the restrictions are understandable but not ideal.
“I think it’s needed to make people to stop, to slow the spread,” said Reagan, “But I think it’s also kind of sad that we can’t touch it and stuff.”
The museums are asking visitors to buy tickets online ahead of time.
“Limiting visitation at any given time so that there’s not a lot of people in the museum,” said Michaelis.
The museums are also asking visitors to wear masks inside the facilities.
“It’s kind of hard to breathe but it’s to keep other people and ourselves safe,” said Reagan.
“You have to adjust to it, but whenever you take photos and you’re smiling nobody can really know you’re smiling,” said Gabriela.
The museums make many people smile, even if it’s behind their masks.
“Whether that’s for a birthday party at Dinosaur Journey or a wedding at Cross Orchards Historic Site, all of that has come to a stop for several months now so our income is definitely down,” said Michaelis.
The Museums of Western Colorado is asking the community for donations.
“It’s definitely a big help at this time as we try to preserve both the history and the science of our area for future generations,” said Michaelis.
“This is amazing and if we didn’t get to go here it be heartbreaking,” said Reagan.
“This is a really, really good museum and I think children can expand their knowledge of dinosaurs here,” said Gabriela.
If you’re interested in visiting one of the locations, click here to buy tickets online.