This Summer, my family visited The Dinosaur Place for the very first time. The Dinosaur Place is located in Montville, CT, just minutes from Mystic Aquarium. Now, we’ve been to Mystic Aquarium numerous time, but I had never heard of The Dinosaur Place until last year. If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it! What an amazing day trip that’s fun for the whole family!
The Dinosaur Place
At The Dinosaur Place you will find over 40 Life-Sized Dinosaurs on 1.5 miles of nature trails. You’ll also enjoy playing in Monty’s Dino-sized playground, finding your way through the A “Maze” asaurus, bouncing in the Jurassic Moon Bounce, splashing in New England’s largest splashpad, and much more!
Monty’s Dino-Sized Playground
When entering the The Dinosaur Place you will first see Monty’s Dino-Sized Playground. I love that the playground was designed for children of all ages. There are multiple Jungle Gyms of varying difficulties throughout Monty’s Playground, including a separate toddler-sized play area for little ones! My boys especially loved climbing on and through the 3 foot tall Pachyrhinosaurus (thick-nosed lizard) skull!
The Dinosaur Place is also home to New England’s largest Splashpad! Once again, accommodating children of all ages was considered during the design of this splashpad. My youngest son loves water but hates being splashed in the face, so I was very pleased to find that there was an area that he too could enjoy! In the Splashpad area you will find over 30 dinosaur-themed features including dinosaur head water cannons, a dinosaur “ribcage” waterfall, a spitting Stegosaurus, and more! There are also bathrooms and changing areas located right outside the Splashpad.
Once again, at The Dinosaur Place you will find over 40 Life-Sized Dinosaurs on 1.5 miles of nature trails. To enter the Dinosaur Trails, you will walk under the belly of a life-sized Brachiosaurus. This dinosaur is 75 feet long and 40 feet tall! Walking through the Dinosaur Trails truly was an amazing experience for all of us. I had never seen anything like it before. The kids really loved exploring the trails and discovering all of the different types of dinosaurs! They also loved stopping at each of the “What am I?” touch and learn activity boxes located throughout the trails. In these boxes you will discover different objects including dinosaur teeth, seashells and more! Towards the end of the dinosaur trails you will find a life-like interactive animatronic Dilophosaurus hiding in a cave! We had to visit this dinosaur a few times during our visit, as it was a favorite for all of us!
Upon exiting the Dinosaur Trails, you will come to Raptor Bay which is a seven-acre man-made lake. Along the edge of the lake there is a volcano that “erupts” every hour on the hour. When the volcano erupts you will feel the ground vibrate and see mist spray out of the top.
Jurassic Moon Bounce
The Jurassic Moon Bounce is a great addition to The Dinosaur Place. What kid doesn’t love jumping in a bouncy house?
A “Maze” asaurus
If you go towards the right, upon entering the dinosaur trails, you will come to the A “Maze” asaurus. This is a large maze with lots of twists and turns than you have find your way though. I love that maze is raised so you can see your little one’s feet, making it easier to find them if they get lost! To exit the maze you will slide through the mouth of a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex!
Everything I’ve listed above is included in the admission to The Dinosaur Place, and it’s more than enough fun to fill your day, but if you’re up for a little more adventure, stop by the Discovery Depot, located right next door! For an additional fee, at the Discovery Depot you can mine for gems, pan for gold, and dig for dinosaur bones! Some of these activities are only done at certain hours of the day so be sure to check for times on the big board located in The Dinosaur Place gift shop, where you also purchase tickets to The Dinosaur Place.
The Bone Zone
In The Bone Zone your child will work along side other children to uncover the skeleton of a dinosaur. Dr. Bonz teaches the children a bit about paleontologists, and walks them through the proper techniques for digging for dinosaur bones. After about 15 minutes of digging, Dr. Bonz will talk a bit more about the dinosaur that was uncovered. She will then hand each child a small case with 5 real fossils in it. The fossils alone made this activity worth the price, and the kids had lots of fun digging in the sand!
The Jackpot Mine is Southeastern Connecticut’s only replica silver mine. Before you enter, you will be given a souvenir bucket to place whatever your find in. In the mine your child will dig with their hands to try find over 50 kinds of real gemstones, crystals and minerals. Best of all, you get keep everything you find! This was definitely one of my favorite parts of our trip. Just beware that you are not allowed to help your child dig, so if your child is on the younger side and will require help, make sure you purchase a ticket for yourself too!
Unfortunately, we didn’t participate in the Thunder Creek activity. After an extremely long day, our kids were just too tired to keep going, but this is definitely on our to-do list for next year! At Thunder Creek your child will be given a souvenir pouch to keep all of the “fools gold” they find while panning for gold!
What’s to Eat?
Inside The Dinosaur Place, you can grab some food at Monty’s Munchies, located next to the Splashpad. There you can get traditional concession foods – burgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, etc. Although the food was good, the wait was extremely long, so I would recommend you pack your own lunch. This has nothing to do with the servers, as they were working as hard as they could. There were just so many people ordering, that they couldn’t keep up with it.
Another food option would be to eat at the Cobalt Cafe, located in The Shops at Nature’s Art Village. We didn’t visit this restaurant but from their website, I see that they offer a bit more than Monty’s Munchies.
Lastly, there is an ice cream shop at The Dinosaur Place which is the perfect way to end an amazing day! On top of ice cream, they also offer Root Beer Floats and other beverages
Don’t forget your bug spray and sun block! Also, bring lots of water and wear comfortable shoes!