Chances are if you’re a parent, you’ve got a dino lover on your hands. If your kiddos spout off dinosaur names (where’d they learn to pronounce them all anyway?) and know the difference between the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, they’ll want in on these nearby dinosaur experiences that bring their favorite prehistoric creatures to life. From a new drive-thru experience to fossilized footprints that are worth the drive, here’s where to find dinosaurs.
Jurassic Quest Drive Thru
Have you heard? The parking lot at Gillette Stadium is undergoing renovations. Instead of hosting Patriots' fans, it will host over 70 larger-than-life, animatronic dinosaurs (and one 50-foot long Megalodon!) who can't wait to meet your kids. Families can "ooh," "ahh" and gasp over these creatures from the comfort of their car. Plus, you can listen to he audio tour to learn a little something as you explore the immersive experience. Let's just say this is one dino-mite way to spend an afternoon.
Good to know: Parents can purchase add-on packs for their crew to enhance the experience.
Dates: Jun. 25-Jul. 11, 2021
Hours: Jun. 25, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Jun. 26, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Jun. 27, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; then Weds., 1-8 p.m.; Thurs., Fri. & Sun., 9 a.m.-8 p.m. & Sat., 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
1 Patriot Pl.
T. Rex Adventure
Bring your kids to "explore the roar" at Stone Zoo this summer. As they walk the zoo grounds, they'll be greeted by some of the most colossal creatures ever to walk the earth. Among the trees and bushes, they'll find a 42-foot long T. Rex, a 20-foot long Plateosaurus (to name a few) and dinosaur skeleton recreations poised for little learners. Just remember, these amazing creatures are animatronic so keep that in mind when touring with the younger set. The perfect summer destination for budding paleontologists!
Dates: Now through Sept. 6, 2021
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: Included with zoo admission
149 Pond St.
Kids who thrive on dino facts will love this exhibit that's always on display at the Boston Children's Museum. It's as hands-on as it gets, inviting kids and parents to ponder and answer compelling questions about how dinosaurs moved, how big they were and what they may have looked like. Kids will get to sift through fossil evidence and even manipulate a full-size dinosaur model to help suss out their answers. Our favorite part? It's got to be the life-size, animatronic Dilophosaurus who oversees the whole thing.
Hours: Weds.-Sun., 9 a.m.-noon & 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Cost: $18/person; Free for babies 12 mos. & under and members
Boston Children’s Museum
308 Congress St.
Museum of Science
Families familiar with the Museum of Science know there's a whole floor to explore dinosaurs here, starting with Dinosaurs: Modeling the Mesozoic and ending at Colossal Fossil: Triceratops Cliff. Whether your curious cutie is gazing up a a life-size Tyrannosaurus rex model or standing at the foot of a 65-million-year-old Triceratops fossil named "Cliff," they'll have more than enough questions answered about their favorite prehistoric creatures once they've thoroughly explored these two permanent exhibits.
Hours; daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $29.95/adult; $24.95/kid, ages 3-11; Free, kids 3 & under
1 Science Park
Pioneer Valley Dinosaur Footprints
Make tracks to this preserve off Route 5 where you'll find fossilized footprints left by some of the earliest known dinosaurs. The area is known for its fntastic and well-preserved footprints that bring prehistoric creatures to life (psst.. there are over 800 that have been found over the years). This handy map will help you find the ones you're looking for.
Good to know: This park is open daily from April 1 to November 30.
Dinosaur State Park
Stay on track when you head out of state (it's not too far) to visit the Dinosaur Dome, find tracks and come face-to-face with oversized creatures at Dinosaur State Park. Under the dome, expect a stunning display of fossilized tracks made over 200 million years ago alongside murals, a discovery room and a dig pit. Then it's on to the trails outside that feature floral and fauna that also existed during the Age of the Dinosaurs. How cool is that? Families may also have the opportunity to cast tracks and mine for fossils too.
Hours: Grounds open daily, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Exhibit Center open Tues.-Sun., 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Cost: $6/adult; $2/kid, ages 6-12; Free for kids 5 & under
400 West St.
Rocky Hill, CT