9 Dino Destinations to Whet Your Appetite for "Jurassic World"

by  Teresa Bitler | Jan 13, 2015
Dinosaur fossil
Dinosaur fossil / JFsPic/iStock

Can’t wait for the Jurassic Park sequel, “Jurassic World,” to hit theaters in June? Have your own prehistoric adventure at one of these fun-packed dinosaur destinations.

The Field Museum, Chicago
Home to “Sue,” the largest, best-preserved, and most complete Tyrannosaurs rex ever found, The Field Museum is a must see for budding paleontologists and adventurers. After you’ve gawked at Sue’s 42-foot long frame and 58 dagger-like teeth, explore the museum’s dinosaur collection, part of the Evolving Planet exhibit. $31 adult, $25 students, $21 children 3-11.

Flickr / Mark Stevens

Dinosaur National Monument, Utah
Paleontologist Earl Douglass came to the Utah-Colorado border in the early 1900s looking for mammal fossils. Instead, he discovered dinosaur bones -- and a lot of them -- at the site that eventually became Dinosaur National Monument. Head to the park’s Quarry Exhibit Hall to see more than 1,500 dinosaur bones, including Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, and Stegosaurus bones. $10 per vehicle.

Flickr / Mark Stevens

North American Museum of Ancient Life, Lehi, UT
Utah is also home to the North American Museum of Ancient Life, one of the world’s largest dinosaur displays with 120 skeletons -- 60 of which are complete -- and more than 60 hands-on exhibits. Dig for fossils in the quarry or watch paleontologists unearth real dinosaur bones in the museum lab. $15 adults, $12 children.
Bonus: Ogden’s George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park is an interactive museum and outdoor park featuring life-sized dinosaur sculptures on its trails. $8 adults, $5 children.

Facebook / American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History, New York City
The American Museum of Natural History has two halls, containing more than 100 specimens, in its infamous David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing. Don’t miss the fossilized imprint of a duck-billed dinosaur, known as the dinosaur mummy, or the Glen Rose Trackway, a series of fossilized dinosaur footprints. $22 adults, $12.50 children.

Flickr / Randall Chancellor

Dinosaur Valley State Park, Texas
When dinosaurs roamed Texas, they left footprints in the mud at the edge of an ancient ocean. The ocean is long since gone, but today you can walk in their tracks along the Paluxy River at Dinosaur Valley State Park. Five main sites showcase elephant-like Sauropod tracks and smaller, three-toed Theropod tracks. $7 adult, free for children.
Nearby: You’ll find more than 150 life-sized dinosaurs at the 20-acre Dinosaur World in Glen Rose. $12.75 adults, $9.75 children.

Facebook / Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C.
Although the National Fossil Hall is closed for renovation through 2019, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History still has an impressive collection on display in its exhibit, The Last American Dinosaurs, including “Stan” the T. rex and “Hatcher” the Triceratops. Other dinosaurs and fossils from the Hell Creek Formation in North Dakota are on display. Free.

Flickr / Michael

Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta
In the Great Hall at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, you can walk among fighting giants as Gigantosaurus -- a dinosaur that rivaled T. rex in size -- squares off against Argentinosaurus, the 100-ton sauropod that scientists say is the largest dinosaur ever classified. The impressive scene includes a flock of 21 Pterodaustro and three Anhanguera overhead. $18 adults, $16 children.

Flickr / Ben Townsend

Wyoming Dinosaur Center & Dig Sites
Considered by many to be the best dinosaur museum in the United States, the Wyoming Dinosaur Center & Dig Sites features Archaeopteryx, an early bird that bridges feathered dinosaurs and modern birds. You can explore the center’s interpretative displays, take a dig site tour, and even dig. Entry is $10 for adults and $5.50 kids; dig site tour and digging are extra.

Facebook / Museum of the Rockies

Montana Dinosaur Trail
One destination not enough? Make an entire vacation out of dinosaur-hunting. The Montana Dinosaur Trail has 14 dino destinations, all displaying skeletal remains and fossils. Purchase a Prehistoric Passport ($5) at any of the stops and collect all 14 stamps for a certificate of completion and Montana Dinosaur Trail t-shirt.
Must see: If you make only one stop at the Montana Dinosaur Trail, make it the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman. This museum houses the world’s largest T. rex skull and one of the first female dinosaurs in the world. $14.50 adults, $9.50 children.

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