It’s no secret kids love dinosaurs. And the good news is that those of us in the Chicago area don’t have to rent a time machine to see those prehistoric beasts; we’ve got four spots that highlight some prime paleontology. And these dinos, at least, don’t bite.
We went dino hunting and found four spots where you can see the prehistoric beasts.
- 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
- (312) 922-9410
The granddaddy-or should we say grandma?-of dinosaurs isSue, the Field Museum’s poster girl. The 67-million-year-oldskeleton is the largest, most complete and best preservedT. rex that’s ever been found and includes awhopping 224 bones. Her original skull is kept in a separatecase-although at 600 pounds, or about the size of a cow, it’s a bithard to miss. Fun fact: Sue’s got a Twitter account! Follow her@SuetheTRex. The Field’s Genius Hall of Dinosaurs also highlights afew less famous dinos, such as Rapetosauruskrausei. If you’re longing for a ‘saur sleepover,watch for the Field’s “Dozin’ with the Dinos” overnights, where apremium ticket snags you a spot in the middle of the hall. Ouradvice: keep one eye open, in case of some Night at theMuseum-style high jinks.
- 737 N. Main St., Rockford
- (815) 965-3433
Move over, Sue, there’s another T. rex in town!Sure, Jane technically lives in Rockford and is about half the sizeof her more famous cousin, but that 21-foot-long skeleton still ispretty impressive. The “Jane: Diary of a Dinosaur” exhibit exploreswhat happened during the 66 million years she was stuck undergroundand simulates the Montana dig site where her bones were firstdiscovered. Plus, kids can check out the lab to see the skullof Homer, a “kid” just like them. The juvenile triceratops was onlydiscovered in 2005, so if you’re lucky, you can spy staff membersworking on his bones for a new exhibit opening in 2013. Thensee if your kids can figure out what zoo animal the horned fellowresembles most.
- 704 Main St., Evanston
- (847) 866-7374
A little shop/museum in Evanston doesn’t seem like theplace to find prehistoric treasures, but this unassuming buildingboasts some remarkable finds. There may not be any full-fledgeddinos here, but there is a femur bone that once belonged toan Apatosaurus (akaBrontosaurus) and was put together,puzzle-style, out of 100 pieces discovered in Colorado. Plus, checkout one of the world’s largest fossilized carnivorous dinosaur eggsand the collection of fossils from every geological time periodgoing back 3 billion years. The museum grew out of Dave and SandyDouglass’s personal collection of rocks and fossils, including someDave found as a boy. So you might want to hand over a shovel whenyou get home and let your kids get to work. You never know whatthey’ll come across!
- 42W813 Reinking Road, Hampshire
- (847) 464-5952
Goebbert’s Farm and GardenCenter
- 40 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington
- (847) 428-6727
He doesn’t quite fall into any known genus or species, butif we had to guess, we’d say this dinosaur most closely resembles asmall-scale Diplodocus, the long-neckedguy who ate an awful lot of leaves. Plus, given the 20-foot-tallPumpkin-Eating Dinosaur’s choice in snacks, he must be anherbivore. True, the handmade electronic creature is a bit moredragon than dino, fashioned from fiber glass and canvas and able toblow smoke out of its nostrils (along with growling and burping).But either way, he certainly tops the list for originality.Funosaurus Rex, perhaps?