Confined to plutonium-powered DeLoreans and unwieldy telephone booths, time travel is a dangerous and mischief-baiting activity. Instead, let history repeat itself as often as you can stand it with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get a one-year family membership to the Morrison Natural History Museum (a $40 value).
The Morrison Natural History Museum curates interactive and educational exhibits staffed by a crew of guides brimming with paleontological and geological expertise. Surrounded by rare and unique fossils, including pieces from the first stegosaurus and apatosaurus discovered in Colorado, museum-goers receive a glimpse into the late Jurassic period, when Morrison was a sweeping plain ruled by dinosaurs and saber-toothed crossing guards. Outside, children engage the often-ignored Earth-science lobe of their minds sifting through soil at the fossil dig pit, while parents tour the area's temporally shifting landscape in the museum's Time Garden. Explore the Fossils of the Foothills exhibition with an information-enriched chaperone or unsheathe a compass and triceratops-skeleton detector to investigate solo. The 45-minute tour is free to members and occurs hourly (May–August) and twice a day (September–April).
In addition to free admission throughout the year, members have access to special events and lectures hosted by the museum, a 10% discount on gift-shop goodies and birthday parties, and "Museum Matters," an e-newsletter tracking trilobite relationship drama and hot fossils for 2011. Museum staffers actively research local Jurassic ecosystems, recently excavating well-known dinosaur-youth footprints that have been featured in Smithsonian and Sneaker Freaker magazine.
Morrison Natural History Museum
Chances are a Tyrannosaurus would bite if you tried to pet it. Thankfully, that's not the case at Morrison Natural History Museum, where a Tyrannosaurus skull is one of many safe fossils that visitors are encouraged to touch. The paleontology museum's 3,000 square feet of exhibition space is full of other dino bones discovered in Colorado, from the first stegosaurus fossils to the tracks of an infant dinosaur. A peek into the museum's Paleo Lab reveals scientists conducting research in real time, while trips to the dig pit let kids experience the rush of unearthing their own fossils.
Not everything at the Morrison is about fossils. Among the Ice Age exhibit's bones of saber-toothed cats, for instance, glass displays teem with live reptiles, amphibians, and a wooly mammoth stretching after a 7,000-year nap. Educational programs likewise blend dinosaur-focused activities and interactions with live creatures, such as birthday parties that include the chance to pet a live snake.