13 Dino-Mite Spots for Dinosaur-Obsessed Kids
Follow in the footsteps of prehistoric giants and immerse your family in dinosaur fun.
Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center
This museum is a great place to view dinosaur fossils from the cretaceous period. The center is separated into two exhibit halls: fossils from land dinosaurs and fossils from marine animals. There are many hands-on exhibits and opportunities to touch fossils at this museum.
Admission: Adults $11.50, Seniors $10.50, Children (5-12) $7.50 (4 and under) Free
201 S. Fairview St. Woodland, Colorado
Wyoming Dinosaur Center
The Wyoming Dinosaur Center isn’t just a state of the art paleontology museum. It also offers the opportunity for children and adults to participate in an authentic dig. Your budding paleontologist will not only love finding dinosaur bones but learning proper preparation and cataloging of their finds. Patrons can also purchase tickets to tour the dig site without participating in a dig.
Admission: Adults $10.00, Seniors & Veterans $8.00, Kids (4-12) $8.00 (3 and Under) Free
Combo tickets for the museum and the dig site tour can be purchased.
110 Carter Ranch Road, Thermopolis, Wyoming
Museum of the Earth
This museum is kid-friendly with an abundance of hands-on activities. They have a vast collection of fossils from each period and each environment — from large, complete skeletons to small trilobites. The museum follows the development of life on earth with examples from every era. The Discovery Lab at the museum is an interactive space for kids to play and learn. They can even search for fossils and keep what they find.
Admission: Adults $9, Seniors and College Students (w/ ID) $7, Youth (4-7) $6 (3 and Under) Free
1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, New York
The Field Museum
Even beyond their impressive dinosaur exhibit, the Field Museum is a must-see destination for the whole family. There is something for everyone, from mummies to the taxidermized remains of two man-eating lions. The Evolving Planet display follows the evolution of life on our planet from the very beginning, when life was a single celled organism, to the dawn of mankind. The museum also has many hands-on displays, including the dinosaur exhibit.
Admission: Adults $38, Youth $27
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
This museum houses many complete and real dinosaur skeletons from the Mesozoic and Cretaceous eras. There is an exhibit dedicated solely to the ocean life of the Cretaceous period. Kids will enjoy the Bone Hunters Quarry, where they play paleontologist and dig up dinosaur bones. The museum has one of the most extensive collections of dinosaur bones in the world, along with many other educational exhibits.
Admission: Adults $19.95, Seniors $14.95, Students (w/ ID) $11.95, Children (3-18) $11.95 (2 and Under) Free
4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA
Dinosaur Trails and Sites
Dinosaur National Monument
This national monument is in both Utah and Colorado, but if you want to see dinosaur fossils be sure to visit the Utah section of the park. The Quarry Exhibit Hall features a wall with over 1,500 fossils in it — and your little ones can even touch them. Dinosaur National Monument has four campgrounds and is an excellent place to spend the night and stargaze. Dinosaur National Monument has very little light pollution, making the night sky spectacular. There are also many hiking trails within the park. One of them, the Fossil Discovery Trail, leads hikers to places where they can view more dinosaur fossils in the rocks along the trail.
11625 E 1500 S. Jenson, Utah
Dinosaur Valley State Park
Dinosaur Valley State Park lets visitors literally walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs alongside the Paluxy River. Tracks from a herd of Sauropods are frozen in time inside this Texas state park. Visitors can hike down to the river to view the tracks and compare the size of their feet to these giant foot prints. Kids will also love the giant statues of dinosaurs (T-Rex and Brontosaurus) that were featured at the 1964 World’s Fair. This park offers many outdoor activities for the whole family, including camping and fishing.
Admission: Adults $7, Children (12 and Under) Free
1629 Park Road 59, Glen Rose, Texas
Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum
Dinosaur State Park has an exhibit building that holds the park’s collection of over 2,000 dinosaur tracks, likely made by three different kinds of dinosaurs. The Exhibit Center has a hands-on discovery center for kids to play and learn about dinosaurs and the Jurassic period. The arboretum has plants that are directly related to plants that would have been at the Dinosaur State Park during the Jurassic period. The park has several hiking trails that take visitors through the forest and swamp. During the summer months, aspiring paleontologists can participate in a track casting.
Admission: Adults (13 and up) $6, Children (6-12) $2, (Children 5 and under) Free
400 West Street, Rocky Hill, CT
Fossil Butte National Monument
Fossil Butte National Monument is nicknamed “America’s Aquarium in Stone.” An ancient lake once existed at this site, and the preservation of the fossilized species is the best in the world. The paleontological excavations in this area continue to reveal new species in the sediment. The Fish Wall in the visitor center has 21 species of fish and over 45 fossils. Visitors can also see the Turtle Wall with five different species of ancient turtles that once lived in the prehistoric lake.
864 Chicken Creek Road, Kemmerer, Wyoming
Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry
This site is unique because it houses the largest collection of carnivorous Jurassic dinosaur fossils in the world. Over 10,000 fossilized bones and dinosaur eggs have been discovered in this quarry, and visitors can watch excavations in progress. Although most excavated fossils have been Allosaurus, there are 13 other species of dinosaur fossils, such as Stegosaurus, to come out of this site. There is a small museum on site, where visitors can view some of these skeletons.
Admission: Adult $5, Children (15 and Under) Free
125 S 600th W, Price, Utah
This unique roadside attraction is set in a temperate rainforest in Oregon. There are 23 life-size, scientifically accurate dinosaur models throughout this park. They fit in beautifully with the setting, making visitors feel as if they might have actually stepped back in time to a prehistoric era. Dinosaur tracks lead guests from dinosaur to dinosaur in a self-guided tour of the gardens. Some of the dinosaurs that visitors will encounter along the journey are a three story Brachiosaurus, a T-Rex, a Triceratops, and a Stegosaurus.
Admission: Adults $12, Seniors $10, Children (3-12) $8, Children (2 and under) Free
36848 Highway 101 South, Port Orford, Oregon
This amusement park is every dino-loving kid’s dream. The park offers several different dig experiences and shows that both educate and entertain. The property has animatronic dinosaurs that bring to life many prehistoric scenes and features fossils from dinosaurs found in Florida. Although this park has plenty to offer, food isn’t one of them. However, there is a lovely picnic area where families can bring their own lunches and enjoy the bright Florida sunshine.
Admission: Adults $16.95, Seniors $14.95, Children (3-12) $11.95
5145 Harvey Tew Rd, Plant City, Florida
Cabazon Dinosaurs is an unusual roadside attraction that has been a fun pit stop for travelers since 1975. Home to over fifty larger-than-life dinosaur statues, this park is a fantastic place to let the kids run wild. Visitors can pan for fossils, participate in a dinosaur dig, and even climb up into the giant T-Rex’s head. Featured in many movies and music videos, this park is a great way to spend a few hours.
Admission: Adults $13, Seniors $10, Children (3-12) $11
50770 Seminole Drive, Cabazon, California
By Kimberly Crawford