Children seem to have an unhealthy fascination with giant lizards that could eat them. Luckily for all the parents out there, Jurassic Park was never made into a reality. However, many of today’s dinosaur museums cater specifically to children, offering up workshops, tours, and fun activities to teach them more about the former rulers of the Earth. Here’s a list of the top four dinosaur museums in the United States for you to plan a (safe) prehistoric adventure with your budding paleontologists.
The Field Museum – Chicago, Illinois
First up on our list is the famous Field Museum of Chicago, home to Sue, the world’s largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in the world. This girl is a must see for all reptile enthusiasts as she’s 42 feet long and around 67 million years old. The museum holds a host of other dinosaurs and exhibits, and even offers up overnight sleepovers where children and their families can sleep among Sue and all of her dinosaur friends. Tickets are $18 for adults and $13 for children.
The Wyoming Dinosaur Center – Thermopolis, Wyoming
Home to a beautiful museum with 20 full-sized dinosaur skeletons on display, the real appeal of this museum is the scenic 500 acre Warm Springs Ranch the facility resides on. Children of all ages can participate with their families in a guided tour of the area, digging for real dinosaur bones in the 140 million year old sediment. If Mom and Dad need a break, kids aged 8-12 can take part in a daylong, guided ‘Kids’ Dig’ in a nearby canyon to search for fossils. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5.50 for children.
Thanksgiving Point – Lehi, Utah
The Thanksgiving Point Museum of Natural Life offers up 60 complete dinosaur skeletons for you and your kids to explore, and over 50 hands-on exhibits. Children can play with toy dinos at the Erosion Table, dig for fossils in the quarry dig, and view paleontologists working in the museums lab to unearth real dinosaur bones. There’s also a Jr. Paleo Lab which offers kids a chance to take a bit of history home. For a small fee, they can make rubber molds of dino fossils, or learn to use real paleontologist tools to prepare a fish fossil. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children.
Dinosaur Journey Museum, Fruita – Colorado
Look no further for robot dinosaurs, because you can find them in Colorado. This great little museum offers up a simulated earthquake ride, a dinosaur library reading area, a sandbox for making dino tracks, and a ‘quarry site’ for kids to dig for Jurassic dino bones. There’s even a lab with paleontologists working on dino bones, just like at Thanksgiving Point. Tickets are $8.50 for adults and $5.25 for children.
Dinosaur museums are spread out all throughout the country, and many are nearby to some of the best places to live in the United States. Do some digging and you might just find that a prehistoric adventure is nearer than you think.