Where Is the World’s Best Dinosaur Museum?
Travelling with children who dig dinosaurs? We’re on a quest to find the best places to see them.
Make no bones about it: Dinosaurs are cool—at least as they exist for us today, as children’s toys, in books and motion pictures, on T-shirts and perhaps best of all, in museums.
As family travel plans take shape this season, we thought it would be fun to explore a few destinations that keep even the youngest palaeontologists—and their parents—engaged, interested and entertained. Here are some notable suggestions.
The Field Museum, Chicago
Visit Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex in the world, on permanent exhibition at The Field Museum. Sue, named after the palaeontologist who discovered her, stands 12 feet (3.7 metres) high at the hips and is 42 feet (12.8 metres) long. You can also catch a showing of Waking the T. Rex 3D: The Story of Sue at the museum’s 3-D theatre.
Natural History Museum, London
Myths about dinosaurs are put to rest at the museum’s renowned Dinosaur Gallery, where 160 million years of the creatures’ history are unearthed in hundreds of interactive displays as well as life-size models and skeletons. A massive animatronic T. rex showcases the animal’s 15-centimetre-long (6-inch) teeth, and a half-buried skeleton of an Edmontosaurus reveals skin texture, a rare discovery.
American Museum of Natural History, New York
Two grand halls in the museum’s Dinosaur Wing house a world-class collection of dinosaur fossils, such as the first Velociraptor skull ever discovered, a Stegosaurus and an Apatosaurus (although you may recognize it by its earlier name, Brontosaurus). One of the most interesting features is the dinosaur mummy. The fossilized imprint of a duck-billed dinosaur is one of the most complete specimens ever recovered.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh
The world’s first permanent exhibit of dinosaur skeletons and recreations at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History, “Dinosaurs in Their Time” features 19 fully articulated skeletons in recreated environments and emphasizes their placement in different time periods—Triassic, Jurassic or Cretaceous. Kids will love the Bonehunters Quarry, an interactive fossil dig. Chisel and brush in hand, they’ll feel like true palaeontologists as they chip away a rock matrix to reveal realistic fossil casts.
Zigong Dinosaur Museum, Zigong, China
Covering more than 66,000 square metres (more than 710,000 square feet), it’s one of world’s biggest dinosaur museums. But it also rests in a key region for dinosaur fossils in China—there are more than 200 locations within the city itself where dinosaur fossils have been discovered. The museum features preserved, fossil-rich dig sites as well as reconstructions from the authentic fossils found there.
Jurassic Land, Istanbul
More theme park than museum, this dinosaur adventure centre spans 10,000 square metres (107,639 square feet) and features 70 animatronic dinosaurs that bring the past to life. Kids earn their very own palaeontologist certificates after discovering eggs and bones in the digging cave, and come face to face with predators during a ride in the Juracopter, Turkey’s largest 4-D simulator, which takes them straight into the world of dinosaurs.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta
Find out which dinosaur rivalled the legendary T. rex at the “Giants of the Mesozoic” permanent exhibition. A recreation of Patagonia, Argentina, where the exhibit’s creatures were discovered, showcases the largest dinosaurs known. A dramatic predator-versus-prey design displays the species’ fight for survival—the Giganotosaurus clashes with the Argentinosaurus (the largest dinosaur ever classified) as a Pterodaustro flock circles overhead.
Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, Alberta, Canada
Nine galleries and a handful of interactive displays and activities make the Royal Tyrell Museum one of the world’s most impressive dinosaur museums. A Cretaceous garden shows Alberta’s landscape as it was when the dinosaurs roamed it, while a preparation lab allows you to view scientists at work. Dinosaur enthusiasts will feel right at home in the enormous Dinosaur Hall, home to one of the world’s largest displays of dinosaur remains.
Many of you shared your thoughts on where the world’s best dinosaur museums are on Facebook. Here’s what you had to say.
“I can’t say for the whole world, but the best I’ve been to is the American Museum Of Natural History in NYC!”
“Drumheller, Alberta. Without a doubt!”
—Katrina McIntosh Bradley
“The Brussels Museum of Natural Sciences has the largest European gallery entirely dedicated to dinosaurs with the unique finds of Bernissart as the centerpiece. But the city is missing a certain hotel . . .”
“Prefectural Dinosaur Museum in Fukui, Japan!”
“Bozeman, Montana! Museum of the Rockies”
“Natural History Museum London!”
“The Field Museum, Chicago. We were there this summer and stayed at Four Seasons Chicago.”
—Connie Correll Partoyan
“Denver Museum of Nature and Science! Our official state dinosaur is the Stegosaurus”
“Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History #DC”
“Crystal Palace Park in London. The model dinosaurs have been there for over 100 years. The life-size models of over 100 prehistoric creatures were commissioned for the Great Exhibition in the 1800s”