Dinosaur Attractions in the Midwest

Go on the ultimate dino hunt on your next family road trip.

If you have any dinosaur fans at home, you know that they can’t seem to stop stomping around or sharing their latest dinosaur fact. Did you know that chickens are descendants from dinosaurs? Or that dinosaur fossils have been found on all seven continents?

Let’s just say dinosaurs aren’t going out of style anytime soon. As dinosaurs continue to rule the world, there are some Chicagoland attractions to get your dino fix like The Field Museum and Bess Bower Dunn Museum.

But do you want to go on the ultimate dinosaur hunt? Check out these dino-mite Midwest 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 might be taken at some of these locations. Be sure to call before you head out to find out what is expected before heading there.  

Illinois

Bess Bower Dunn Museum

In the museum’s Prehistoric Lake County collection, stand up close to the world’s most scientifically accurate Dryptosaurus, complete with fleshed out skin, protofeathers and claws. Then try a hand at pit digging to find an ancient treasure. Offers discounts on Tuesdays.

Burpee Museum of Natural History

Take a look at Jane, the most complete juvenile T. rex. In her exhibit, Jane: Diary of a Dinosaur, you can see what happened during the 66 million years she lay buried. From there, see Homer, the Triceratops, in his exhibit, Homer’s Odyssey. Also, explore the Pleistocene in their second floor Ice Age exhibit.

Chicago Children’s Museum

Step into the museum’s Dinosaur Expedition. This recreation involves Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno’s team exploring a recreated Saharan expedition. You can even find a life-size Suchomimus skeleton in a huge dino pit. Advanced ticket purchases are recommended.

Ice Age Giants

Through Oct. 30, 2022

Brookfield Zoo and Dino Dan are bringing more than 20 life-sized, animatronic re-creations of giants that roamed the Earth during the Ice Age. The giants include wooley mammoth, mastodon, giant bird, saber-toothed cat, giant ground sloths, giant rodent, giant ape and short-faced bear.

Navy Pier Dino & Dragon Stroll

July 23-24, 2022

Seventy-five animatronic dinosaurs, most of which stand more than 28 feet tall and spanning over 60 feet long. See the T-Rex, Velociraptors, Stegosaurus and more. You can also explore dinosaur skeletons, fossils, eggs and more. Live music, fire-breathing dragons and strolling dinosaurs, too.

The Field Museum

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 exhibit, you can learn even more about Sue, a 40-foot long and 90 percent complete T. rex. You also can’t forget about Máximo, the largest Titanosaur ever discovered!

Volo Auto Museum

The indoor Jurassic Gardens adventure will feature over 30 life-like animatronic dinosaurs, plus an arcade, fossil dig and “lab.” There’s a gift shop and plenty of photo opportunities to capture the occasion.

Wisconsin

Dinosaur Discovery Museum

Hang out with more than 20 meat eating dinosaurs! In their exhibit, Little Clint: The Story of a Baby Dinosaur, kids can follow the journey of a juvenile T. rex (excavated in Montana) from its birth to being displayed in a museum. Participate in the “I Spy Activity,” in order to receive a prize at the end of your visit.

Milwaukee Public Museum

The Third Planet exhibit features dinosaurs in a diorama complete with thunder and the roaring of a life-sized replica of T. rex. Milwaukee Public Museum was one of the first museums to recreate life-sized dinosaur models in their natural habitat. See Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family until May 18, 2022.

University of Wisconsin Geology Museum

Kids will dig the Edmontosaurus and Triceratops, and a roomful of other dinosaurs in this small “gem” of a museum. Stick around and explore other real gems, a cool fluorescent display and extraterrestrial geology.

Indiana

Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The dinosaurs on the outside of the building welcome guests, but you’ll find even more indoors.Inside, visitors can explore the new Dinosphere in five immersive experiences. They include Giants Jurassic, Creatures of the Cretaceous, Monsters of the Mesozoic Seas, Art Lab and Paleo Lab.

Michigan

Canterbury Village Dino & Dragon Stroll

May 19-22, 27-29, 2022

Find 75 animatronic dinosaurs, most of which stand over over 28 feet tall and spanning over 60 feet long. See the T-Rex, Velociraptors, Stegosaurus and more. You can also explore dinosaur skeletons, fossils, eggs and more. Live music, fire-breathing dragons and strolling dinosaurs, too.

Cranbrook Institute of Science

Come face-to-face with the full-sized T. rex skeleton, the jaws of a megalodon, the saber-tooth cat and the mastodon displays. Learn about the ice age, who survived it (and who didn’t), discover dinosaur features and much more.

Dinosaur Garden

Reopens May 22, 2022

  • Address: 11160 US-23, Ossineke
  • Cost: $3/fossil dig, $6/mini golf, $10/walking tour, $24.99/dino pass, $34.99/dino pass plus, $39.99/explorer pass

This one-of-a-kind park, which opened in the 1930s, is filled with reproductions of life-sized dinosaurs including pterodactyls, T. rex and the mighty triceratops. Dinosaurs are set against natural scenery and guests can pose with the statues. There are plenty of photo opportunities along with a fossil dig, mini-golf course and a frozen yogurt bar, too.

Prehistoric Amusement Park

This roadside attraction‘s old-school vibe that features full-size fiberglass dinosaurs and a man-made volcano. Once upon a time, this attraction was booming but fell victim to the rerouted interstates. You can still see the dinosaurs but since this park is located on private property, you must get the landowner’s permission, first. 

University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

Explore The Evolution of Life Through Time exhibit, which showcases the five major extinction events and how life made it through them, along with the Exploring Michigan exhibit, which takes guests back through Michigan’s history to explore the animals that lived in our state. There are full male and female Mastodon skeletons, too.

Ohio

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Meet “Happy,” a 70-foot-long “Haplocanthosaurus delfsi” sauropod, plus 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 of re-opening of this exhibit). Advance tickets are required.

COSI: Center of Science and Industry

See a full-size cast skeleton of a T. rex or the 60-foot-long metallic model of the long-necked Apatosaurus. With a one-of-a-kind partnership with the American Museum of Natural History, there are many interactive and educational elements to learn from.

Orton Geological Museum

Arrange for a free tour of the Museum Gallery by calling or emailing the museum. All ages are welcome to the tour and there are even virtual tours available. Visitors will enjoy taking photos with life-size skeletal displays of their favorite Dinos and looking at other prehistoric fossils, too.

Minnesota

The Science Museum of Minnesota

Get a chance to see one of only four real Triceratops on display in the world. Plus, it’s the museum’s largest complete specimen on display. You also can’t miss the 80-foot long Diplodocus that your kids will love to snap a photo with.

Kansas

Fick Fossil & History Museum

You can see the oldest known mosasaur fossil, with its eye socket is intact along with more than 11,000 shark teeth and a 15-foot Xiphactinus Audax.

Field Station: Dinosaurs

Your kids will be amazed by the 10 dino-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.

Keystone Gallery

Spot a 20-foot Mosasaur and 14-foot Xiphactinus, plus other fish, turtle and bird fossils.

KU Natural History Museum

Take a photo with Annabelle, a 50-foot-long, 140-million-year-old Camarasaurus. There’s also the skeleton of one of the first vertebrates, the Pteranodon and a 16-foot-long bony fish, the Xiphactinus, which was first discovered in Kansas in the 1850s.

Museum at Prairiefire

Meet AMNH 5027, the first complete T. rex ever assembled by famous paleontologist and Kansas native Barnum Brown. The Discovery Room awaits those interested in more hands-on fun, including Paleontology. 

Museum of World Treasures

  • Address: 835 E. 1st St., Wichita
  • Cost: $9.95/adults, $8.95/seniors 65+, $7.95/ages 4-12, free/ages 3 and under, $32.95/family day pass: 2 adults, 2 youth (prices do not include tax)

Dinosaur fans can wave to Ivan the T. rex, Cutie the Daspletosaurus and Ed the Edmontosaurus, along with a number of other prehistoric fossils. For more interactive fun, there is a fossil and cast touching station.

Sternberg Museum

Walk through the land and sea diorama complete with a life-sized animated model of a T. rex. Ever see a fish within a fish fossil? This, along with other Cretaceous Period fossils can be found here.

South Dakota

Dinosaur Park

Get lost in this totally fun road trip diversion, Dinosaur Park, which lures travelers and dino lovers with their life-size, concrete and steel dinosaur sculptures.

Do you know of other dinosaur spots in the Midwest? Tell us about them in the comments so we can add them to our list.


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