Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dinosaur footprints in Sucre, Bolivia - a trip by local bus as we explore more of the world

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It is Monday, and time to go exploring - on an educational level.
One thing, as a single traveling parent that I try to keep a balance with, is education and exploring.
This needs to be balanced with rest and fun time.
A child gets just as worn out (if not more so) mentally than an adult.
So to expect him to study on the move is often tricky.
I try to let the world we are in (and the city / area) teach him.

Parque Cretacio in Cal Orck'o is the place to see Dinosaur Tracks.
So we find out how to get a local bus to this.
It is actually right at the end of our street where the hostel is.
At first we try to get one going the wrong way - the numbers are the same both directions.
But I seem to get my limited Spanish understood.
We wait on the correct side of the road - a place the locals come for breakfast.

We hop on the min van bus - 2 Bolivianos each (about 30 cents).

When we arrive all we find is a cement works.
We go up their driveway and this is where we start to see some great life-size models of dinosaurs.

 We are the first to arrive and it is just before 9 a.m.
The guided visit takes about 1 hour and cost 30 Bolivianos for adults and less for children
5 Bolivianos extra for permission to take photos - I find this strange - as she pins a paper to my shirt. 

We head inside and we are met by 2 English speaking guides.
We are offered a guide for free if we want - yes please!
He takes us to the cinema room.
My son gets to select from a range of films on dinosaurs.
I thought this film was fantastic - I learnt a lot - so did he.

We finish the film, find our guide, and he takes us to the fossil area.

Our guide is great.
He is very knowledgeable -
and also has a book he can use to refer to any words in English we need to translate.

He walks us around the park.

There are life size models all over the place.
The actually took measurements from the footprints they found to scale them to size.
Our guide tells us details - he is excellent.

We then go to the viewing area to see the long await footprints.

We weren't able to see the dinosaur footprints up close; 
instead, there's a viewing platform with binoculars.
Our guide explains Cal Orkco is a collection of dinosaur footprints impressioned on a 70 degree wall 
of the cement quarry, which used to be a lake floor.

There is distinct sets of tracts.
The V section fell out of the wall recently.
This area had the largest prints in.
I find it a real shame that this area is an archaeological find of great significance.
Yet the quarry has rumbling trucks going along the base area.
This HAS to have long term negative impact.

I wonder why a viewing platform has not been built over the quarry road.
This would then allow a close-up look.
Our guide has a book where we refer in detail to the footprints.
It is a great help.

As my son runs / past under the dinosaurs it triggers a sound box 
that gives us the sound that dinosaur would have made.

We have a great time with the model area.
Theses are as professional as you would find in U.S.A.
There is not an ounce of "fakeness" to their looks.

Each model also has a detailed plaque with the relevant information.

Many, many fibreglass dinosaur models dot the park area.

Some are so large, it is impossible to fit them into the camera screen in one go!

There is one display sandstone with a footprint we can get right to.
Wow is my son thrilled at this!

Again, I feel this is a treasure that should be kept away from climbing children.
But he is too excited to listen.

There is a junior area.
Here you can "discover" a dinosaur skeleton by brushing the sand away.
This reminds us of the Adelaide Museum back home.

There is also a dinosaur climbing wall and slide, and a few other play items.

I love the way the lady gardeners have uniforms adapted to their traditional style of clothes.

Far below you can see the quarry, and the dinosaur model on the road.

We head back.
The "boys" - that being the driver, and my boy
decide he is to join him at the front of the bus.

We head back into town.
We find the bus doesn't go back the same way.
We get stuck in a traffic jam in the markets.
Finally we give up and get out.
Lost we walk the streets for 2 hours to get home.
But this is 2 hours by choice.
We enjoy the markets - I love to shop!
Sucre is a wonderful white-washed colonial town.
Well worth a visit.

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