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Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming

Wyoming

As Seen on Film: Trek Through Wyoming with 'The Good Dinosaur'

By: Lisa Zimmermann

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    Wyoming

Do you want to walk where dinosaurs once roamed?

Visit the USA’s western state of Wyoming. Thanks to Disney-Pixar’s movie "The Good Dinosaur," Wyoming is once again home to these fascinating prehistoric creatures.

Studying the Stunning Scenery

The Good Dinosaur takes place on an alternate timeline in which dinosaurs and humans coexist. The asteroid that scientists theorize extinguished dinosaurs misses Earth, allowing both species to flourish. The movie centers on an Apatosaurus named Arlo, who gets separated from his family and seeks to return home. Along the way, he befriends a young boy. The two travel across vast and challenging terrain to reach Arlo’s home in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.

Diane Shober, executive director for the Wyoming Office of Tourism, said the setting in her home state is evident in the first few minutes of the film. She said Arlo’s home looks like Wyoming’s iconic image of the Moulton barn along with the Teton Range in the background. “There is no mountain range on Earth that looks quite like the Tetons do, and the barn brings that western flavor to the scene,” she said. “It’s a uniquely Wyoming portrayal and one I love.”

Though photos of Wyoming are captivating, there’s nothing like visiting in person and exploring the landscape. That is why Disney-Pixar’s filmmakers traveled multiple times to the Cowboy State to study the scenery. Disney-Pixar’s teams used their observances and photos from these visits to inspire the terrain where Arlo’s animated adventure takes place. “Wyoming has an amazing diversity in its landscape, and it certainly shows through in the film.” Shober said. “Places like Yellowstone, the Red Desert and even Thunder Basin National Grassland are very well represented.”

The Grand Tetons and the Moulton barn, two of Wyoming's iconic sites

The Grand Tetons and the Moulton barn, two of Wyoming's iconic sites
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Visiting Landscapes That Inspired 'The Good Dinosaur'

Wyoming makes a great landscape for an epic adventure in animation and in real life. Many of the beauties filmgoers see on the screen can be visited in person. For example, after flying into Jackson, a city of 10,000 people in the western part of the state, drive about 130 kilometers north to Yellowstone National Park for an adventure in the USA’s first national park. Look for black bears, bison, the Grand Prismatic Spring and other hot springs, forests, a volcanic plateau and the famous geyser, Old Faithful.

Nearly 300 kilometers southeast of Jackson, you’ll find the stark, towering Oregon Buttes, which rise 2,625 meters from the floor of the Red Desert.

Like Arlo, travelers can also hike in  Grand Teton National Park. Grand Teton is the second highest peak in the state, reaching about 4,200 meters high.

Brilliant swirl of colors in the Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone National Park

Brilliant swirl of colors in the Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone National Park
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Dig for Dinosaurs

Drive 24 kilometers west of Kemmerer, Wyoming, a town about 260 kilometers south of Jackson, to visit Fossil Butte National Monument. From there, venture to adjacent ranches like Warfield Fossils for fossil digging. “You’re almost guaranteed to go home with a fossil,” Shober said.

Shober also suggests visiting the Wyoming Dynosaur Center in Thermopolis. “Here,” she said, “you can work alongside professionals and help them dig, excavate, clean and catalog thousands of bones and other fossils.”

It’s a great spot to complete your "Good Dinosaur" adventure.

Fossil Butte National Monument in Wyoming

Fossil Butte National Monument in Wyoming
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