Snowmass Resort near Aspen, Colorado has capitalized on the recent fossil find at a reservoir near Snowmass Village with its Ice Age Discovery Center. Sitting among the shops on the Snowmass Mall, the indoor mini museum tells the story of the discovery of Mastodon bones—the largest collection from a single site anywhere in the world—and other Ice Age fossils dating as far back as 150,000 years.
In October of 2010, a bulldozer driver working at the Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village inadvertently dug up a tusk, setting off the massive excavation project that unearthed 4,826 Ice Age bones by July of 2011.
Now the fossils are being studied at Denver’s Museum of Nature and Science, providing scientists with invaluable information about the Ice Age of the Rocky Mountains. They are calling the Ziegler Reservoir the best high altitude Ice Age site in the world.
The Snowmass Discovery Center is a visual archeological textbook about the seven large mammals—American mastodon, giant bison, ground sloth, Columbian mammoth, deer, horse, camel—and 19 smaller animals whose bones were found at the dig site. The fascinating story of the find is told through displays, educational panels, photos, videos, interactive programming and storytelling—all designed for kids to enjoy and learn alongside their parents.
The Discovery Center is closed for mud season, but will reopen June 1, 2013 for the summer. It will be open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. through October 1; Thursdays from June 20-August 15 until 6 p.m. Admission is free. 970-922-2277.
Serendipitously, the Museum of Nature and Science had planned a temporary exhibit Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age long before the Snowmass discovery. It is currently showing at the DMNS (along with the companion 45-minute 3D film Titans of the Ice Age); it closes May 27, 2013. A section on the Snowmass find The Snowmastodon Project was added to the Titans exhibit originally created by The Field Museum in Chicago.