Where to go to see dinosaurs
If you’ve clicked on this link expecting to find that Jurassic Park has come to life, we’re sorry to disappoint. Until science, and not just Clive Palmer, has managed to clone the primordial predators from DNA in amber-entrapped mosquitoes (yeah, not happening anytime soon), the only prehistoric throwbacks you’re going to be able to see are fossils and animated statues. Because, the whole extinct for 66 million years thing.
Still, if your childhood fascination with palaeontology has you keen to dust off your dinosaur-hunting kit and brush up on your dino facts, here’s where to go to see dinosaurs around the world. And, one of the major sites is in Australia (again, no, it’s not Palmersaurus. Because, *sigh*).
American Museum of Natural History - New York City, USA
First stop: the largest natural history museum in the world. Dino relics are on the fourth floor in the David H. Koch Wing. Check out the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton from Night at the Museum in the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs. Dino tip: Don’t miss the dinosaur mummy in the Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs.
Universal ‘s Islands of Adventure theme park – Orlando, USA
Part of Universal Orlando Resort, do the Jurassic Park River Adventure raft ride for surround-sound dinos in their ‘natural’ habitat, take flight on the Pteranodon Flyers ride, play in Camp Jurassic and get hands-on at the Jurassic Park Discovery Center. So maybe those last three are for kids – oh, who cares? It’s Jurassic Park!
Dinosaur Provincial Park - Alberta, Canada
Dinosaurs stalked the Alberta Badlands, 2.5 hours’ drive south of Calgary in Canada, where 37 different kinds of prehistoric reptiles have been unearthed. The UNESCO World Heritage includes Royal Tyrrell Museum with 40 dinosaur skeletons, plus you can also go on a real guided dinosaur excavation.
Zigong Dinosaur Museum - Zigong, China
Built over Dashanpu Dinosaur Quarry, the largest dinosaur burial site in China, you can see a range of well-preserved Jurassic vertebrates and their excavation pit. Shaped like a giant dino, there’s herbivores in gardens, carnivores in group displays and huge bones to measure yourself against (selfie!).
Australian Age of Dinosaurs - Winton, Australia
One of our very own dino destinations is 180 kilometres from Longreach with the museum built above the Winton Jump-Up – the local name for the elevated tableland area. Do the Prep-A-Dino package to work on the bones of the Cretaceaous-age critters in a lab, or head here for a Dig-A-Dino week to participate in a dig.
Flaming Cliffs, Gobi Desert – Ömnögovi, Mongolia
The world’s Velociraptor excavation hotspot is the Flaming Cliffs site (Bayanzag) region of the Gobi Desert in the Ömnögovi Province of Mongolia. This remote location is famous for the first discovery of dinosaur eggs and nests. Dino tip: Do a tour to see all the dinosaur fossil sites and even dig for bones.
Proyecto Dino - Patagonia, Argentina
Another rich fossil area is the Neuquén Province of Argentine Patagonia where over 30 kinds of Cretaceous-period dinosaur remains have been found. Around Lake Barealles is Lago Barreales Paleontological Center, a.k.a. Proyecto Dino, where you can be a palaeontologist for a day (or longer) and get your hands dusty on an excavation.
Dinosaur Isle - Isle of Wight, UK
Huge primordial predators may not immediately leap to mind when thinking about the tiny landmass of the UK, but the Isle of Wight is actually the most important dinosaur fossil site in Europe with over 20 species of dinosaur found here. Check out the pterosaur-shaped museum or do a guided fossil walk on the island.
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