Fads come and go, but dinosaurs are here to stay! Children just can’t get enough of it and luckily there are many dinosaur attractions from coast to coast. From silly cartoons to serious science, we’ve found over 20 of the best dino mite spots you can discover with your little paleontologists, including state parks, theme parks, children’s museums, and even a dinosaur-themed restaurant that has its own “Build-A” has -Dino “center.
Families are invited to join Dino Land’s friendly paleontologists and take a tour to see over 23 life-size animatronic dinosaurs, make a Dino Dig, and visit the Dino Blast Shooting Gallery. Of course there are also many finds on the subject of dinosaurs in the gift shop.
Good to know: Edaville also offers a Thomas Land with many interactive rides and attractions for fans of the Thomas the Tank Engine. Depending on your family’s preferences, this could be a win-win situation!
Photo: Gabby Cullen
Welcome to the dream of a dino excavator. In the Dinosaur Quarry exhibition hall on the Utah side of the Dinosaur National Monument, over 1,500 prehistoric bones are still trapped in the rock, and visitors can view reconstructed dinosaur fossils such as Allosaurus and a baby Stegosaurus. The quarry gives children a look at the fossils in their natural state (instead of removing, cleaning, and reassembling). Once you’ve checked out the dino box, there are plenty of other activities to explore (including hiking and kayaking on the Green River).
Good to know: At the visitor center you can take a trip to the quarry, entertain Park Ranger and learn about the history of the region.
The Burke Museum of Natural History is located on the University of Washington campus and has grown out of its space. A brand new museum is currently under construction, which will be 66% larger and is expected to serve up to 4,000 visitors a day if you plan to. If you have a few dinosaurs on display, you need your space. Unlike other museums that house their dinosaurs in the basement, the new Burke proudly displays the dinosaurs on the top floor. The new exhibition will open in fall 2019 and will focus on Washington State fossils, including giant whales, ice age creatures, and more. With large glass windows in their laboratories, visitors can now see up close what the researchers are working on every day.
Most people know the Disney Animal Kingdom, one of the four Disney theme parks in Orlando, but not everyone knows that the park spans an entire country dedicated to Jurassic animals. What Dino Land USA lacks in science makes up for it in the form of fun. The exciting journey takes place in this “country”.dinosaur, “Where drivers travel back in time, get into a jeep and try to save a dinosaur before a meteor hits. What could go wrong? Dino Country USA also offers a replica of the T-Rex “Dino-Sue”Which is pretty amazing. However, mom and dad may be more impressed with the “Fossil Fun Site” known as The boneyard This is an open air space that revolves around a dinosaur dig and gives little explorers time to burn some energy.
Children’s museums are fun no matter where you go, but the Chicago Children’s Museum is highly praised for their “cool” dinosaur expedition. “It shows, among other things, a replica of the real Sahara expedition, in which the Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno discovered a new type of dinosaur. It also offers a life-size skeleton of suchomimus (Sue-co-MY-must), an excavation pit for digging for bones, and the chance to experience what it would be like to be part of Paul’s expedition team.
With two dino mite locations, the Field Stations take families on tours that are full of puzzles, surprises and over 40 life-size realistic (and moving!) Dinos. Experience the trail up close and take part in over 30 live shows, games and activities in the parks. Here you can dig for fossils, learn about dinosaur nutrition during a live music show, and play a game of Dinosaur Discovery mini-golf. As they say: “Science has never been so fun, so scary or so big!”
Dinosaurs play an important role in the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. So much so that they recently expanded their space for them with the new 14,000 square meters Dinosaur Hall, You need so much space to present the world’s only Tyrannosaurus Rex growth series. You will also find a Stegosaurus and the 25-foot Triceratops that make their debut. The museum also houses one Dino Lab, Here you can see how their employees work on real fossils and get their hands on some others that are said to be between 66 and 120 million years old! What will really inspire your children is of course that Dinosaur encounterswhere large-sized dolls (think huge) “come alive” to get a better sense of what life would look like with prehistoric creatures.
They say that everything is bigger in Texas, so it should come as no surprise that you will find dinosaurs there too. You can hike through this dog-friendly park and experience hundreds of life-sized dinosaurs up close in a natural setting. You will also find interactive exhibits that stimulate your imagination and a playground with dino motifs to burn off excess energy. Of course, no visit is complete without a stop at the gift shop on the way out. Also keep in mind: It’s a great place to host a unique birthday party that will make you the best mother and / or best father in the world. You can also find Dinosaur World in Cave City, Kentucky and Plant City, Florida!
This Smithsonian Museum will open a new permanent dino-sized exhibition on June 8, 2019. In the David H. Koch Hall for Fossils – Deep Time, guests can travel through ancient ecosystems to observe the evolution of life and see over 700 fossils first-hand, including early insects, reptiles, mammals, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Diplodocus and a woolly mammoth. The exhibition will also show how the choices people make today will affect our future.
Follow the path of a dinosaur battle that took place millions of years ago. The Paluxy River is home to over 1,500 dinosaur tracks, the latest of which was uncovered in 2014. The extremely popular and fairly easy hike leads dino hunters along the stream bed in search of traces under water. Part of it is one of the most famous trails ever discovered and can be viewed at the American Museum of Natural History.
Good to know: The traces are not visible when the water is high. Check conditions before leaving the park.
On-line: tpwd.texas.gove / dinosaurvalley
Universal Studios Hollywood is putting the finishing touches on upgrading the Jurassic Park ride to something bigger and better, inspired by the new Jurassic World film franchise. Many of the dinosaurs introduced in the original ride will return with brand new technology. Universal Studios: “This exciting next-generation ride will be a completely reinterpreted repetition of the groundbreaking adventure, highlighting every facet of the experience. With the introduction of never-before-seen dinosaurs, improved storytelling, lavish scenic design, a completely new color scheme and state-of-the-art technology without compromise, the ride will capture elements never before seen in a theme park. “To round off your dinosaur experience, take a break for lunch at the Jurassic Café, which serves huge turkey thighs (which Fred Flintstone would approve of), personal California-style pizzas, gourmet burgers, fried chicken, typical salads and much more.
The Field Museum was a hotspot for dinosaur fans even before SUE – the most complete T-Rex skeleton ever discovered – arrived in 2000. Evolving Planet takes guests on a journey through four million years on Earth. There are videos, interactive displays to touch and an expanded dinosaur hall. SUE is of course the highlight and does not disappoint.
Good to know: There are various family programs, including Meet a Scientist, Dozin ’with Dinos and the Discovery Squad.
The Science Museum’s first Tyrannosaurus Rex model was first created in 1960 and was based on three incomplete skeletons. Since then, over 30 skeletons have been found, so today’s creature’s model looks a little different than its brothers. Find out what distinguishes prehistoric creatures from modern animals, read “bone dictionaries”, play with scale models of Coelophysis, learn about Mesozoic murals and what future dinosaurs might look like today. You’ll also find countless models, including bones, footprints, and even dinosaur dung – which is probably your kids’ favorite part.
The Great Plains Dinosaur Museum is small but powerful. It is home to Leonardo, the best preserved dinosaur in the world, and one of the best places for those who really want to get dirty, Dino style. Children aged 5 to 11 can register for this Junior Paleo Field Experience: Three hours with a real dinosaur excavation with the professionals, then back to the laboratory to process, analyze and write down their findings. Don’t worry – there are many practical things for the smaller set, including your own excavation pit outside the museum.
Good to know: The museum is open from May to August, and the Junior Paleo experiences usually take place from June to mid-August.
If you fancy a road trip to the Oregon coast and want a fun pit stop, that’s more Pee Wees great adventure As a Smithsonian Museum, this place is for you. It’s a chunky, cool dinosaur park with a dinosaur sculpture in the middle of a beautiful, lush forest in the Pacific Northwest. In short, it’s great. While the dinosaurs are not real, it is the old forest in Oregon.
Good to know: The gardens are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in spring and autumn and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in summer. Check the website for winter hours.
What a great idea! The T-Rex Café is part of a restaurant, part of a museum, but it’s all fun – and very popular. In the entire restaurant you will find large animatronic dinosaurs (“Darling, we will find a table at the T-Rex …”), exotic plants, aquariums (with real tropical fish) and practical educational activities in the Paleo Zone, a fossil sandpit from Discovery Dig, Discovery Creek’s watermill, where children can search for precious gems and stones (it’s a bit far, but we let it slide) and “meteor shower” that takes place every 20 to 30 minutes. They even have a Build-a-Dino from Build-A-Bear Workshop. Parents should also visit the Octopus Bar (with flexible tentacles and jellyfish).
200 million year old Dilophosaurus tracks – 2,000 of them. That was in 1968 in Rocky Hill, Ct. Today, the route is a protected national landmark, and visitors can view 500 of the routes in the geodesic dome of the exhibition center. Young visitors will search for fossil chests in the discovery room, examine stones and crystals, work on puzzles, read books or create a bookmark for dinosaur tracks, while natural nuts will love the path filled with flora and fauna (only three kilometers!) ,
Good to know: The site and the hiking trails are closed on Mondays.
Photo: South Dakota Department of Tourism
Rapid City’s Dinosaur Park has been celebrating the state’s paleontological history since it opened in 1936. The public (and free) space offers life-size concrete dinosaur figures that the kids can climb on, and the 360-degree view of the Badlands is worth the hike to get to the park. The park is a must if you are in the area!
Good to know: The popular tourist attraction is a short drive from the Black Hills and about 30 minutes from Mt. Rushmore.
The museum is located directly on the University of California campus in Berkeley and is primarily a research facility. This means that the impressive collections are closed to the general public, except for the annual open day on campus – Cal Day (April 13, 2019). If you stop by on another day, you can still see a number of fossils on display on both the first and second floors of the Valley Life Sciences building, including an assembled building T-Rex as well as a T-Rex Skull. click Here for the construction of opening times.
Good to know: Guided tours can be arranged for school groups.
There are over 30 assembled skeletons and hundreds of displays and dioramas in the museum, all of which are designed to educate and delight even the smallest dino fans. It is difficult to say exactly what the main attraction is, “Jimbo” the Supersaurus, or the real dig action that takes place from late spring to early autumn. Families are asked to register. If someone finds a fossil, it will be labeled with their name and displayed in the museum!
Good to know: Don’t you think your little people can dig under the sun? Instead, opt for the Dig Site Tour.
This roadside attraction from Western-Mass was launched by Carlton S. Nash in 1939 and is still family-owned to this day. Formerly known as Nash Dino Land, think of a road stop rather than a museum. While not exactly a state-of-the-art facility, the fact that very little has changed in over 70 years is part of its indelible charm. (Take a photo of your children in the same place as in the photo above). Since the 1930s, it has produced thousands of impressions of dinosaur tracks, many of which are now housed in museums. The Nash Dinosaur Track Site and Rock Shop will delight all your pint-sized rock hounds and paleontologists alike. Entry is only $ 3 for adults and $ 2 per child.
Good to know: The site is closed in winter.
Who doesn’t want to meet “Rexy” from the night in the museum? In addition, you will find the 30 meter long Titanosaur, a Velociraptor and the Triceratops among thousands of other super cool specimens. And on March 11, 2019, a brand new (albeit temporary) exhibition will open. At T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator, learn how a dinosaur became the most fearsome carnivore in the Mesozoic, meet the entire tyrannosaur family, interact with amazing things, and jump into a multiplayer virtual reality game. It will only last until August 9, 2020. Families with children ages 5 to 12 should stop by discovery space, an interactive look behind the scenes of the museum, in which visitors can put together a life-size cast skeleton from Prestosuchus, deal with real fossils and even dig up an Oviraptor nest while redesigning a paleontological field.
The world famous roadside attraction may not be the most scientific, but it’s fun! Climb Dinny, the 150-foot replica of Apatosaurus, or take a look out of Mr. Rex’s mouth. Take a look at the animatronic dinosaurs in the open-air museum, look for gold or spend time in the fully excavated sand pit. Oh, and take this iconic picture of the family, the mountains, and the dinosaurs? A must.
Good to know: Don’t miss the curious bookstore in Dinny!
“It’s lunchtime and you’re on the menu,” teases the Jurassic Park River Adventure ride. Sure, the water cruise starts off harmlessly enough, but soon your family will have gone off course and float toward the Jurassic Park restricted area. And while you’re there, be sure to visit the hands-on activity center, where kids can test their own DNA to see what kind of dinosaurs they are, answer dinosaur trivia, examine dinosaur eggs, and, if they’re lucky, Watch a baby Velociraptor “hatch”. There is also Camp Jurassic, a prehistoric playground that is perfect for families with children of all ages. You can also let the children navigate over suspension bridges, slides and the Thunder Lizard Trail and even try the water cannons in the safety container.
Jeff Totey with Gabby Cullen and Amber Guetebier
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