28 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.

Illinois

Dino Safari 

May 7-23, 2021

Families can take a Dinosaur Safari to see more than 40 animatronic dinosaurs along a drive-thru path. On each adventure, families will learn how dinosaurs evolved over time, where they called home and the discoveries paleontologists have made about how they ate, moved and behaved.

Dinosaur Drive-Thru

May 13-June 6, 2021

If your kids love looking at dinosaurs on a screen, imagine seeing them right outside your car! Life-sized animatronic dinosaurs have invaded Six Flags Great America! Drive through to go on a dino adventure.

Dinos Everywhere!

Through Sept. 6, 2021

Dinos Everywhere! features acres of earth shakers, including the largest—argentinosaurus—that was estimated to measure more than 100 feet in length and weigh up to 110 tons. Zoogoers will be able to search for these 45 amazing life-like animatronics that will be located throughout the park.

The Field Museum

We all know and love Sue, Chicago’s famous T. rex. and they have their own home in the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet. In the exhibit, you can learn even more about Sue. You also can’t forget about Máximo, the largest Titanosaur ever discovered!

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.

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.

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.

Volo Auto Museum

When it reopens in May, Volo Auto Museum plans to debut an indoor Jurassic Gardens adventure for guests. The new spot will feature dozens of lifelike animatronic dinosaurs, plus a gift shop, arcade, fossil dig and “lab.”

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.

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.

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 inside their exhibit, Dinosphere. Kids can literally spend hours here by digging for dino bones and learning all about the dinosaur skeletons on display.

Michigan

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

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.

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.

COSI: Center of Science and Industry

  • Address: 333 W. Broad St., Columbus
  • Note: Temporarily closed, plans to reopen on June 3, 2021

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.

Cedar Point

When visiting Cedar Point, “Dinosaurs Alive!” is the perfect diversion for when you want to take a break from riding roller coasters. The walk-thru attraction is full of 50 animatronic dinos and offers the chance to dig into an archeological site.

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 82-foot Diplodocus that your kids will love to snap a photo with.

Kansas

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.

Field Station: Dinosaurs

Your kids will be amazed by the 14 dino-infested acres with 30 life-size animatronic dinosaurs. How cool is that? Find out which dinosaurs were unique to Kansas, then dig for fossils and play mini golf.

Keystone Gallery

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

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. 

Fick Fossil & History Museum

You can see the oldest known mosasaur fossil along with more than 11,000 shark teeth.

KU Natural History Museum

Take a photo with Annabelle, a 50-foot-long, 140-million-year-old Camarasaurus. Interested in seeing Comanche, the preserved 7th Cavalry horse that survived Custer’s Last Stand? Well, it’s here for your viewing.

Museum of World Treasures

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.

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 dinosaur sculptures. It’s kitschy fun at its best!


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