Where To Take Your Mini Dinosaur Lover In and Around MoCo

For those moms whose children are fascinated with all things dinosaurs, read on to find out where you can take your littles to learn more and explore their curiosities.  They are listed by distance from the approximate middle of Montgomery County.

The Path to the Past in the outdoor Nature Exploration Area located in the Locust Grove Nature Center (7777 Democracy Blvd. Bethesda, MD) lets you “Take a journey back through time, starting from present day to when dinosaurs roamed the Earth millions of years ago. As you walk, learn about the different periods of geologic time. When did the first plants and mammals appear? Have temperatures changed over time? How have our continents changed?  You’ll end your journey at a dig site, where you’ll discover a life size replica of a dinosaur fossil. Become a paleontologist; find your tools in the workbox at the dig site and see which dinosaur fossil you unearth.”  More information available on their site.

Dinosaur Park (13100 Mid-Atlantic Boulevard LaurelMD 20708) is an outdoor park with a fenced fossil site and playground.  You can “Walk the same ground the dinosaurs did millions of years ago in Laurel, Maryland! Discover secrets of Prince George’s County’s prehistoric past at Dinosaur Park. The park is a unique site which preserves a rare deposit of fossils from the early Cretaceous period, about 115 million years ago.”  The park is open to the public on the first and third Saturdays of each month with varying hours and the playground is open daily.  More information available on their site.  

Beginning in October, Dinos Alive is a temporary dinosaur exhibit in an immersive Jurassic venue at the Rhode Island Center (524 Rhode Island Ave NE, 20002).  It features over 80 life-size animated replicas of species such as the T-Rex, Stegosaurus, Velociraptor, and Suchomimus.  The fully immersive VR experience is suitable for ages 4+.  Estimated duration is 60-75 minutes, all ages are welcome, and tickets start at $20.  More information available on their site.

The David H. Koch Hall of Fossils – Deep Time exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (1000 Madison Drive NW, Washington, DC 20560) located on the first floor is described as a massive, 31,000-square-foot exhibition will inspire a new generation of dinosaur lovers and scientists.”  Admission is free and the museum is open every day 10 am-5:30 pm except December 25. More information available on their site.

The Dinosaur Mysteries exhibit at the Maryland Science Center (601 Light St Baltimore, MD 21230) is one where “you’re the paleontologist. Over a dozen full size dinosaurs roam this exhibit hall. Walk under, over, and through a landscape filled with dig pits, a field lab, excavation sites, and other areas of discovery.”  This exhibit is particularly great as it allows littles to see over a dozen dinosaurs on display, work in a field lap and dig pits, and walk in a trackway of dinosaur footsteps.  “Full size skeletons and casts of fossilized remains are on display and everything is hands-on. Touch a triceratops skull. Grab a brush and work side by side with other dinosaur hunters. Pick up a set of calipers and measure the length of dinosaur leg bones or sit in a nest of eggs. Stand in a footprint in the dinosaur trackway.  Listen for the roar of a lumbering giant.”  More information available on their site

The Dinosaurs exhibit at the Maryland Zoo (1 Safari Place Baltimore, MD 21217) is available until November 30, 2022 and was named a 2022 Best of Baltimore winner for Best Kids’ Exhibit.  “Travel through a prehistoric forest of roaring, rustling dinosaurs deep in the heart of the Zoo. You’ll take a winding path through our Maryland Wilderness to experience up-close encounters with life-size, animatronic dinosaurs like velociraptors, triceratops, tyrannosaurus rex, and more, created by Dino Don Inc. The fully robotic creatures move their heads, arms, tails, and even spit water! Along your journey, we’ll help you spot the connections between animals at the Zoo and these prehistoric beasts. Learn how these fascinating creatures moved, hunted, and reared their young in many of the same ways our animals do today.”  The exhibit is open from 10 am – 4 pm with last entry at 3:45 pm.  You can buy a ticket with or without zoo admission.  More information available on their site.  

Dinosaur Land (3848 Stonewall Jackson Highway White Post, VA 22663) is an outdoor walkable theme park  It is a roadside attraction park with over 50 life size dinosaurs, “inviting visitors to step into the world of the prehistoric past, turning back the pages of time to the Mesozoic era, when dinosaurs were the only creatures that roamed the earth.”  They also have a gift shop with a variety of dinosaur items.  Beginning September 8, Dinosaur Land will be closed every Thursday through December.  Tickets are $6 for ages 2-10, $8 for 11 and up.  Their hours vary by the season and can be found on their site.

Featured photo courtesy of Maryland Science Center

Photo courtesy of Maryland Science Center
Photo courtesy of Maryland Science Center
Photo courtesy of Dinosaur Land
Photo courtesy of Dinosaur Land
Photo courtesy of Locust Grove Nature Center

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