Dinosaur Attractions in the Midwest
If you have any dinosaur fans at home, you know they can’t seem to stop stomping around or sharing their latest dinosaur fact. Did you know that chickens are descendants of dinosaurs? Or that dinosaur fossils have been found on all seven continents?
Let’s just say that dinosaurs aren’t going out of style anytime soon. As dinosaurs continue to rule the world, there are a few Chicagoland attractions to get your dino fix like the Field Museum and the Bess Bower Dunn Museum.
But do you want to go on the ultimate dinosaur hunt? Check out these midwestern dino-mite spots your whole family will love. And for more family travel fun, check out these Midwest Caves and waterfalls.
Note: Due to COVID-19, health and safety protocols may apply at some of these locations. Be sure to call before you go to find out what’s expected before going there.
In the museum’s Lake County Prehistoric Collection, stand next to the world’s most scientifically accurate Dryptosaurus, complete with fleshy skin, protoplumes, and claws. Then try to dig a pit to find an ancient treasure. Offers discounts on Tuesdays.
Take a look at Jane, the most complete juvenile T. rex. In his exhibition, Jane: Diary of a Dinosaur, you can see what happened during the 66 million years she was buried. Hence, see Homer, the Triceratops, in his exposition, Homer’s Odyssey. Also explore the Pleistocene in their Ice Age exhibit on the second floor.
Enter the museum dinosaur expedition. This recreation involves the team of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno exploring a recreated Saharan expedition. You can even find a life-size Suchomimus skeleton in a huge dinosaur pit. Advance purchase of tickets is recommended.
Until October 30, 2022
Brookfield Zoo and Dino Dan are bringing over 20 life-size animatronic recreations of giants that roamed the Earth during the Ice Age. The giants include the woolly mammoth, mastodon, giant bird, saber-toothed cat, giant ground sloths, giant rodent, giant ape, and short-faced bear.
July 23-24, 2022
Seventy-five animatronic dinosaurs, most of which stand over 28 feet tall and span over 60 feet in length. See the T-Rex, Velociraptors, Stegosaurus and more. You can also explore dinosaur skeletons, fossils, eggs and more. Live music, fire-breathing dragons and walking dinosaurs too.
We all know and love Sue, Chicago’s famous Tyrannosaurus rex and they have their own home in the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet. In the exhibition you will learn even more about Sue, a 12 meter long and 90% complete T. rex. Nor can you forget Máximo, the largest Titanosaur ever discovered!
The indoor adventure Jurassic Gardens will feature more than 30 realistic animatronic dinosaurs, as well as an arcade, fossil dig, and “laboratory.” There is a gift shop and plenty of photo opportunities to capture the occasion.
Hang out with over 20 meat-eating dinosaurs! In their exhibition, Little Clint: The Story of a Baby Dinosaur, kids can follow the journey of a juvenile T. rex (discovered in Montana) from birth to museum display. Participate in the “I spy activity”, in order to receive a prize at the end of your visit.
The Third Planet exhibit features dinosaurs in a diorama complete with the thunder and roar of a life-size replica of T. rex. The Milwaukee Public Museum was one of the first museums to recreate life-size models of dinosaurs in their natural habitat. To see Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family until May 18, 2022.
Kids will dig Edmontosaurus and Triceratops, plus a room full of other dinosaurs in this little “gem” of a museum. Stick around and explore other real gems, cool fluorescent display and alien geology.
Dinosaurs outside the building welcome guests, but you’ll find even more inside. Inside, visitors can explore the new Dinosphere into five immersive experiences. They include Giants Jurassic, Creatures of the Cretaceous, Monsters of the Mesozoic Seas, Art Lab, and Paleo Lab.
May 19-22, 27-29, 2022
Find 75 animatronic dinosaurs, most of which are over 28 feet tall and span over 60 feet in length. See the T-Rex, Velociraptors, Stegosaurus and more. You can also explore dinosaur skeletons, fossils, eggs and more. Live music, fire-breathing dragons and walking dinosaurs too.
Come face to face with the life-size skeleton of the T. rex, the jaws of a megalodon, the saber-toothed cat and mastodon demonstrations. Learn about the Ice Age, who survived it (and who didn’t), learn about the characteristics of dinosaurs, and more.
Reopening May 22, 2022
- Address: 11160 US-23, Ossineke
- Cost: $3/fossil dig, $6/mini golf, $10/walking tour, $24.99/dinosaur pass, $34.99/dinosaur plus pass, $39.99/explorer pass
This one-of-a-kind park, which opened in the 1930s, is full of life-size reproductions of dinosaurs, including pterodactyls, T. rex and the mighty triceratops. The dinosaurs are placed in a natural landscape and guests can pose with the statues. There are plenty of photo opportunities with a fossil dig, mini-golf, and frozen yogurt bar.
Retro vibe at this roadside attraction with life-size fiberglass dinosaurs and a man-made volcano. Once upon a time, this attraction was booming but fell victim to diverted highways. You can still see the dinosaurs, but since this park is on private property, you need to get permission from the owner first.
To explore The evolution of life through time exhibit, which showcases the five major extinction events and how life passed through them, as well as the Exploring Michigan exhibit, which takes guests back through Michigan’s history to explore the animals that once lived in our state. There are also complete male and female Mastodon skeletons.
Meet “Happy,” a 70-foot-long “Haplocanthosaurus delfsi” sauropod, and other dinosaur friends in the Kirtland Hall of Prehistoric Life. You’ll also find Coelophysis Bauri, the museum’s oldest dinosaur (closed during construction; check online for updates on the reopening of this exhibit). Advance tickets are required.
Admire a life-size cast skeleton of a T. rex or the 18-meter-long metal model of the long-necked Apatosaurus. Thanks to a unique partnership with the American Museum of Natural History, there are many interactive and educational elements to learn.
Arrange a free tour of the museum gallery by calling or emailing the museum. All ages are welcome to visit and there are even virtual tours available. Visitors will enjoy taking photos with life-size skeletons of their favorite dinosaurs and viewing other prehistoric fossils.
Have a chance to see one of four real Triceratops on display around the world. Additionally, it is the largest complete specimen in the museum on display. You also can’t miss the 80-foot-long Diplodocus that your kids will love taking a picture with.
You can see the oldest known mosasaur fossil, with its eye socket intact, as well as over 11,000 shark teeth and a 15-foot Xiphactinus Audax.
Your children will be amazed by the 10 dinosaur-infested acres with 40 life-size animatronic dinosaurs. Find out which dinosaurs were unique to Kansas, then dig for fossils and play Jurassic Golf, explore the Raptor Maze and more.
Spot a 20-foot Mosasaur and a 14-foot Xiphactinus, as well as other fish, turtle, and bird fossils.
Take a photo with Annabelle, a Camarasaurus 140 million years old and 15 meters long. There’s also the skeleton of one of the earliest vertebrates, Pteranodon, and a 16-foot-long bony fish, Xiphactinus, which was first discovered in Kansas in the 1850s.
Meet AMNH 5027, the first complete T. rex ever assembled by famed paleontologist and Kansas native Barnum Brown. The Discovery Room awaits those interested in more hands-on fun, including paleontology.
- Address: 835 E. 1st St., Wichita
- Cost: $9.95/adults, $8.95/seniors 65+, $7.95/4-12 years old, free/3 years old and under, $32.95/family day pass: 2 adults, 2 young people (prices do not include tax)
Dinosaur fans can hail Ivan the T. rex, Cutie the Daspletosaurus and Ed the Edmontosaurus, as well as a number of other prehistoric fossils. For more interactive fun, there’s a fossil and cast touch station.
Walk through the land and sea diorama with a life-size animated model of a T. rex. Have you ever seen a fish in a fish fossil? This, and other fossils from the Cretaceous period, can be found here.
Get lost in this totally fun road diversion, Dinosaur Park, which attracts travelers and dinosaur enthusiasts with its life-size concrete and steel dinosaur sculptures.
Do you know of any other dinosaur spots in the Midwest? Tell us about them in the comments so we can add them to our list.
Follow Chicago Parent on instagram.