At a Glance
• Found in many areas including western North America, western Europe, southern India, China and southern Africa
• Was a quadrupedal herbivore
Length: 30 feet
Height: 9 feet
Weight: 6,800 pounds
The Stegosaurus (STEG-uh-SAWR-us) lived in the Jurassic period about 155 million years ago. Stegosaurus fossils have been found in western North America (including Utah, Wyoming and Colorado), western Europe, southern India, China and southern Africa.
They had two alternating rows of plates running down its back and spikes on their tail. These were almost certainly used for defense, especially considering the flexible nature of the tail. In fact, fossil evidence corroborates this theory; an Allosaurus fossil has been found with a puncture wound the size of a Stegosaurus spike.
Each Stegosaurus in the Dinosaurs in the Desert exhibit is painted with the two grand prize winners’ designs from our Design-o-Saur contest!
At a Glance
• Name means “meat (eating)-bull” because of the distinct pair of thick horns over its eyes
• Found in Patagonia, Argentina
• Was a bipedal carnivore
• Had forward-facing eyes, which was not common among dinosaurs
Length: 25 – 30 feet
Weight: 2,800 pounds (at least)
The Carnotaurus (kahrn-uh-TAWR-us) lived in the late Cretaceous period, about 69-72 million years ago.
Found in Argentina, the small forearms of Carnotaurus are even smaller than those of Tyrannosaurus rex. The hips and tail of Carnotaurus would have made it very well adapted for sprinting; Carnotaurus could likely run faster than a Tyrannosaurus and, perhaps, all other theropods.
The Carnotaurus in our Dinosaurs in the Desert exhibit is painted to resemble a jaguar. The Phoenix Zoo’s Field Conservation Research Director, Dr. Jan Schipper, is part of a team of researchers who’ve been studying the ecology of jaguars and their prey in Costa Rica.
As a result of their work, a wildlife corridor has been designed that will connect the two primary patches of jaguar habitat in Costa Rica. The hope is that securing this corridor will allow for safe passage of jaguars between the two protected areas, increasing the genetic diversity of the Costa Rican jaguar population overall.
We are saving species. Learn more about our conservation efforts.
Twenty-three prehistoric creatures have officially descended onto the Phoenix Zoo’s Desert Lives Trail. This is an unforgettable self-guided expedition into the land of the lost you won’t want to miss.
For the convenience of our guests, we’ve put together tips, pricing and everything else you need to know about Dinosaurs in the Desert below!
Entrance to Dinosaurs in the Desert is only $4 for members and $5 for the general public in addition to Zoo admission. The Dinosaurs in the Desert experience is similar to the cost of Stingray Bay, the Giraffe Encounter, etc.
Parking, Hours and More
We anticipate Dinosaurs in the Desert being a popular attraction. We have multiple parking lots, so please follow the directions of our parking lot attendants to ensure the safety of everyone. Click here for more information!
Background on the Exhibit
The 23 prehistoric creatures were designed by Billings Productions/The Dinosaur Company. They specialize in bringing the prehistoric past back to life. The company was founded in 2003 by Larry and Sandra Billings and today has an average of 20 events at locations all over the world. Their “collection” includes more than 350 creatures in a 67,000-square foot production shop. They’ve also partnered with more than 65 scientific organizations across the globe. Dinosaurs in the Desert at the Phoenix Zoo is Billings Productions most ambitious partnership yet.
The Phoenix Zoo is the first zoo to feature a dinosaur exhibit in a desert setting! But what really makes our experience different is how we tied the prehistoric creatures to our conservation efforts. Arizona is home to many magnificent animals with beautiful colors and patterns. We have let these animals inspire the look of the dinosaurs in our Dinosaurs in the Desert exhibit!
Additionally, Dinosaurs in the Desert features a sprawling backdrop of land formations that pre-date and post-date the existence of dinosaurs (the existence of dinosaurs spanned 150 million years!).
At Dinosaurs in the Desert, you’ll notice many well-known dinos such as a Brachiosaurus, Carnotaurus, Coelophysis, Citipati, Edmontonia, Diabloceratops, Stegosaurus,
Tyrannosaurus rex and Utahraptor.
However, there are several you may not have heard of… but that are equally as amazing!
Be sure to see the Dilophosaurus; fossils have been found in Arizona and is frequently referred to as our state dinosaur. While the exhibited Diolophosaurs spit, they didn’t actually spit. This was something made popular in “Jurassic Park” when they had the Dilophosaurus spit venom on their victims.
You’ll also undoubtedly notice the Quetzlacoatlus, which was/is the largest known flying animal.
The arms and hands of the Tyrannosaurus rex at Dinosaurs in the Desert reflect the most current findings from recent fossils found in regards to how they were actually positioned.
And, last but not least, we are the first zoo to display TWO Design-O-Saur winners!
Fry’s Foto-Saurus Contest
Send your dino-mite pictures to us (@PhoenixZoo) on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #FrysFotoSaurus to be entered for a chance to win a family membership to the Zoo!
Dinosaurs aren’t the only ones with big appetites! A number of dino-themed treats are available throughout the Zoo.
Please check the Dinosaur Calendar of Events for the latest info on specific dino-rific happenings.
All the things you need to know before you enter Dinosaurs in the Desert.
Since arriving, the dinosaurs have expressed interest in seeing the Valley. So, Friday night Patti the Citipati, the Fry’s Fotosaurus and Hollywood the Mega-Raptor hopped in the truck and migrated to Chase Field for some prehistoric fun at a special STEM education night.
Their presence caused quite a stir. Thousands stopped to take their photo with Patti and Fotosaurus. Hollywood, never one to be shy, was allowed to throw out the first pitch to former Attorney General Grant Woods.
Everyone is getting settled. Horticulture is working diligently provide natural accommodations and ensure everyone is comfortable. Once acclimated, the dinosaurs will be available for viewing beginning October 6, with special Members Only preview days October 3, 4, 5. Not a member? Learn more about becoming one.
The first creature in our Dinosaurs in the Desert exhibit (opening October 2017) has already arrived!
A Citipati measuring nearly six-feet tall looms in the shade next to the greater flamingo exhibit. This dino has been custom painted to resemble the Chiricahua leopard frog – a true conservation success story at the Phoenix Zoo.
The Zoo’s Chiricahua Leopard Frog Head-starting and Release Program is one of the flagship efforts of the Zoo’s Conservation and Science Department and is responsible for the release of over 23,000 leopard frogs.
Did you know? The Chiricahua leopard frog (Lithobates chiricahuensis) is listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List.
The Phoenix Zoo’s Chiricahua Leopard Frog Head-starting and Release Program is one of the flagship efforts of the Zoo’s Conservation and Science Department and is responsible for the release of over 23,000 leopard frogs.