One walk around here and you might feel as though you’ve landed in the Mesozoic era. Dinosaurs are taking over; from museums to amusement parks and those that are real to animatronic, the prehistoric creatures have taken up temporary residence in the Twin Cities, allowing you a rare chance to come face-to-face with these mysterious beasts. Here’s where they’re roaming:
Science Museum of Minnesota
On display through August 24, Ultimate Dinosaurs features 20 fully articulated dinosaur specimens, many of which are foreign to us because they evolved in isolation in the southern hemisphere. You’ll learn about the Massospondylus, a dinosaur from South America that started its life on four legs but later became a bipedal, the sometimes cannibalistic Majungosaurus from Madagascar, and the Gigantosaurus, perhaps the largest land predator ever. Top off your visit with a showing of Dinosaurs Alive! on the museum’s Omnitheater screen, a film that follows preeminent paleontologists as they uncover evidence that the descendants of dinosaurs still walk, or fly, among us. Plus, in honor of Minnesota Museum’s Month, during May kids ages 4-12 are admitted free with a paying adult.
Also titled Dinosaurs Alive!, the specimens here are life-sized animatronics, allowing visitors to hear the sounds and see the movements of the creatures in a lush, outdoor setting. And because they’re scientifically accurate, you can easily imagine what life was like when they populated the earth all those years ago. Besides tail thrashing, clawing and roaring, there is also educational content and scenes and stories based on real fossils, including the chance to see an attack by a pack of Deinonychus on a Tenontosaurus and an adult and sub-adult Tyrannosaurus Rex stalk a Triceratops.
Children’s Museum of Minnesota
Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice is the first child-centered exhibit with touchable dinosaurs in the country, and it was created right here by this very museum. It’s been touring the U.S. for the past four years, but is back now, offering kids a chance to meet dinosaurs in two distinct environments while also participating in hands-on activities. Explore a volcano, wade through a bog and investigate a dinosaur nest in the Land of Fire, then travel to the Land of Ice to cool down while crossing an icy river. After that adventure, take on the role of a paleontologist and unearth fossils at the field research station.