The Best Western Denver Southwest will become a dinosaur haven over the next few months, as owner Greg Tally transforms the typical hotel into a natural history-themed destination featuring fossil displays and life-size dinosaur statues. Construction crews broke ground on the renovations today (Dec. 4).Greg is a high school classmate of mine; Kirby and I visited him, his wife Meredith and his two kids while we were in Colorado this summer. They were busily and excitedly planning the remodeling of the hotel at the time. Renovations are expected to be complete in April.
But why dinosaurs?
The ultimate goal, Tally said, is to draw attention to Denver's paleontological history, including Dinosaur Ridge, a site 10 minutes from the hotel where the footprints of long-necked sauropod dinosaurs are preserved.A unique idea, and one that will hopefully pay off for the Tallys. The Best Western Denver Southwest is located near the intersection of US 285 and Wadsworth Blvd (CO 121) in Lakewood.
"I could not think of a more unique differentiator than the history of Dinosaur Ridge," Tally told LiveScience from Missouri last week, where he was headed to pick up lifelike prehistoric statues for the hotel. "It's just your average road trip with a stegosaurus and a cave bear," Tally said.
Mere minutes from the Denver area's most-visited attraction, the Red Rocks Amphitheater, Dinosaur Ridge and surrounding fossil beds were the site of some of the earliest fossil discoveries in the United States. Known as the "Bone Wars" and characterized by a bitter rivalry between paleontologists Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, this period in the late 1800s was characterized by distinctly unscientific behavior, including theft and bribery.
(And yes, this entry is a shameless plug....)