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Making Movies

Utah, and the Moab area, have been used for film scenes for more than 75 years. Scenes from movies such as Forrest Gump, 127 Hours, Thelma & Louise, The Lone Ranger, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and HBO’s Westworld were shot in and around this area.

37 percent of visitors to Utah come because they saw a movie or scene from a movie that showed beautiful parts of this state.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission, also the longest running film commission in the world.

The director, Bega Metzner, was recently elected to the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) and has been instrumental in promoting economic growth within film for both San Juan and Grand Counties.

The latest big project from Hollywood has been Horizon: An American Saga, a large-scale film self-funded, written, directed, and starring Kevin Costner along with many other extraordinary talents. Horizon is a four-part series of films scheduled to be shot in and around Moab as well as other parts of Utah over the next year or two.

Moab locals were hired as background talent and many local Utah and Moab crews were hired as well. The community and businesses help with lodging, private land locations, construction, and various other necessities making it easy for the cast and crew to create something extraordinary.

For information, 435-259-4341, visit, or follow @filmmoab on Facebook, Instagram and X.

Movie Museum

The Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage is located inside Red Cliffs Lodge, where John Ford, John Wayne, and Maureen O’Hara filmed the classic Rio Grande. The Museum houses memorabilia from the early films to the present.
The museum is free, self-guided, and open to the public daily. 435-259-2002, or

Dinosaurs in the Movies

The founders of The Dinosaur Museum, in Blanding, were both accomplished paleontologists and sculptors. They had a connection to Hollywood and sculpted dinosaurs and other creatures for the motion picture industry. The museum houses the model of the Brontosaur used in the original, classic King Kong movie. This is quite special as it is the only model from the movie still in the U.S.

Do you remember the crocodile named Tick-Tock in the movie Hook? His head is on display at this museum.
Another fun fact about the raptor displays: They were the first life-size models of the Montana raptor Deinonychus ever made and were on display at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Michael Crichton saw them and used them as his inspiration for his Velociraptors in his book Jurassic Park.

The museum features the largest collection of original dinosaur movie posters and dinosaur-related movie memorabilia in the world­, from the earliest silent movies to the present.

The museum founders are known worldwide as talented museum artists. Their dinosaur sculpture work was done as exhibits commissioned for several museums around the world.

Don’t miss seeing this museum. 435-678-3454,

Grand County Public Library

Named one of the “Best Small Town Libraries in the U.S.,” the Grand County Public Library offers computers for scanning, proctored tests, and media. The wireless network is free, but donations are welcome.

Restricted computers are available for research or schoolwork. Printers are available. A lovely, partially shaded outdoor courtyard has tables and chairs with WiFi access. 

Monday-Friday 9am-8pm, Saturday 9am-5pm, closed Sundays and federal holidays. 257 E Center Street, 435-259-1111,

Moab Museum

Small Museum. Big Stories. Featuring two new exhibitions in February and September 2024: Japanese American Incarceration in Grand County and U-92: Moab’s Uranium Legacy.

Explore the cultural and natural history of Utah’s Canyon Country through a variety of exhibits, digital stories, engaging programs, and more.

Artifacts and compelling historical photographs introduce visitors to our ancient landscape, the Native people who inhabited this land and remain here today, and the Euro-Americans who explored and then settled southeastern Utah.
Temporary exhibits explore Moab’s distinct role in national and international-level events throughout the mid-20th century. Programs including film screenings, community talks, book clubs, and more tie visitors into this history still in the making.

Visit their website for information on public presentations, lectures, events, and family activities or stop in at 118 E. Center Street, 1.5 blocks East of Main Street. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-5pm. 435- 259-7985.


Spirit & Grit: Ranching in Canyonlands at Dead Horse Point State Park Visitor Center. Curated by the Moab Museum, this exhibit focuses on early 20th-century cattle and sheep ranches and features a full-scale cow camp scene, photographs of work on historic ranches, and the important role of women ranchers in Utah’s Canyon Country.

Explore More- San Juan County

Canyon Country Discovery Center

To get a better understanding of Canyon Country and the Colorado Plateau, make sure to spend some time at the Canyon Country Discovery Center, located in Monticello. This science and nature center was developed for culturally diverse audiences with indoor and outdoor learning stations.

This is a great place for kids and adults to learn about the natural history, landscapes, people, astronomy, water, and climate of the Colorado Plateau. The center offers guided hiking and rafting trips. 435-587-2156,

Dinosaur Museum

The Dinosaur Museum is one of the most unique and detailed museums in the country, and maybe the world. The creative museum is all because of two very talented artists and founders of the museum, Sylvia and her late husband, Stephen Czerkas.

The Dinosaur Museum has the complete history of the world of dinosaurs with some of the rarest artifacts in the paleo world. The incredible and very detailed displays were all hand-made by Stephen and Sylvia.

Both accomplished paleontologists and sculptors, they had a connection to Hollywood and sculpted dinosaurs and other creatures for the motion picture industry. The museum has the largest collection of dinosaur-related movie memorabilia in the world.

Don’t miss seeing this museum. 435-678-3454,

Bluff Fort Historic Site

The first settlers of Bluff made their homes facing inward to form a fort-like protection. They had a school, a meeting house, and established a co-op trading post.

There is a replica of that co-op and housing at the Bluff Fort Visitor Center. The grounds include actual wagons and other artifacts from the Hole in the Rock journey. Kids can don period clothing and try their hand at roping wooden cows, pulling handcarts, and panning for gold.

The visitor center sells all types of homemade baked goods, fudge, books, and shows a video of the Hole in the Rock journey. For more information, call 435-672-9995.

Bears Ears Education Center

Bears Ears National Monument is unquestionably one of the most extensive archaeological areas on Earth. The sensitive cultural landscape here connects up to 14,000 years of human history. While visiting Bears Ears is simply astounding, we all need to do so with respect.

The Bears Ears Education Center (BEEC) in Bluff, a community-powered space operated by local non-profit Bears Ears Partnership (formerly Friends of Cedar Mesa). The BEEC opened in 2016 to provide visitors with information, resources, and education to visit the cultural and natural spaces of Bears Ears National Monument respectfully.

The center offers information on camping and hiking along with maps and tips on how to help protect the fragile resources of the region.

Help spread their message with the hashtag #visitwithrespect. They are open seasonally, 9am-5pm, Thursday-Monday. 435-672-2402,

Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum

Located in Blanding, this incredible museum houses thousands of ancient artifacts from cultures including Ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi), Navajo, and Utes. The museum is located at a prehistoric authentic Puebloan village occupied between approximately 750 A.D. and 1220 A.D., and houses one of the largest collections of pottery and baskets these ancient people left in the Four Corners region.

There is also an excavated and restored kiva (a partially subterranean ceremonial room within a pueblo), giving visitors a glimpse into the ancient lifestyle and architecture.

Throughout the museum, murals created by local Bluff artist, Joe Pachak, reproduce rock imagery panels of San Juan County. The Spirit Windows murals include some images that have been beneath the waters of Lake Powell. With water levels so low, some of the rock art may be showing again.

The park has archaeological exhibits, an interpretive nature trail, auditorium, and gift shop. Edge of the Cedars also has special exhibits, programming, and events throughout the year. 

A stop at this museum will not disappoint anyone interested in ancient cultures. The gift shop offers books about the region’s landscape and Native people, Native artwork, and information for visitors traveling to the Bears Ears National Monument.

The park is one mile from the main intersection in Blanding. The park is open year round: March-November 9am-5pm and December-February 9am-3pm. Closed on holidays. Admission is $5, children 5 and under are free. Entrance is free with current Utah State Park Pass.

There is no food available to purchase in the park. No camping is available. This is a great place to enjoy a picnic with the view. 435-678-2238,


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