A Review of the Discover the Dinosaurs exhibit (currently touring the US)
This past weekend we had an opportunity to visit the “Discover the Dinosaurs” Exhibit while it was in Massachusetts. Since it’s touring the US, I thought we’d do a review of it so that you can know about it and be able to make an informed decision about whether or not to visit when it comes near you. So here’s what we experienced.
The exhibit describes itself as a fun way for kids to learn about the pre-historic past. They tell us that there will be 8-10 exhibits with 40 dinosaurs of “museum quality” for kids to look at and learn. And for an extra $5 kids can also participate in a dino dig, watch a movie, color and do some other fun activities.
Mr. C, my daughter Jenny, my grandson Max and I all decided it sounded fun, so off we went. Fortunately for us, parking was nearby, and the lines to get in were short. We paid $20 per adult and $25 or $26 for Max to get in. Yikes. Pricey, but Max was excited since we had just finished reading a bunch of books about dinosaurs and dinosaur bones and he really wanted to see some. So we hoped it was going to be worth it.
Immediately upon entering the exhibit area, we were greeted with a picture taker. I should have asked how much the photo would be, but I didn’t think to at the time. Just be aware that he will be there. And it will cost you some money.
Then we were in. There were 8 exhibits for our event. They were all fairly small, I think. It took approximately 12 minutes to walk through the entire exhibit area, including the time needed to read the info cards and participate in the scavenger hunt. (There were clues and you had to find the matching dinosaurs.)
Some of the exhibits included dinosaur movement. You can see Max leaning to look at this guy sweep his tail back and forth. And then, shown below, there is this triceratops that appeared to have deformed legs that stretched forward and back. I’m still not sure what that was about. I suspect it was assembled wrong, but I can’t be sure since, admittedly, I’ve never seen a triceratops in person. Just a hunch. 🙂
Much to Max’s disappointment the only dinosaur bones were the individual bones hanging around as part of the “realistic” dinosaur displays. But he had fun pointing to those every time we saw one.
There was a small curtained-in movie area with folding chairs for seating. It was quite loud, so we were able to actually watch part of it from outside the doorway. Max decided he wasn’t interested in going in, so we went off to the dino dig. This was, by far, his favorite part of the event. Not surprisingly. It was, after all, all about digging for dinosaur bones!
Here’s a photo of “Pop Pop” (a.k.a. Mr. C.) digging with Max. There were 3-4 different sand boxes with buried bones. Max enjoyed this part of the exhibit very much and spent most of his time here.
And then it was off to the play area, but first, of course, we were forced to walk through a gift shop full of colorful and enticing toys and stuffed animals. O_o
A small stuffed triceratops cost us $14. We were fortunate that Max was uninterested in anything else, and even more fortunate that he was the only small child with us. I saw a family with 4 children trying desperately to get their crew through this section without having to drop another $80.
The play area included a coloring station, where the kids had two choices of coloring pages (both including a prompt to visit the online store.) There was also a large bounce house where each group of kids was allowed to bounce for approximately five minutes before being told to clear out for the next group. There was also a smaller bounce house that was the same. For us, that five minutes was enough as there was significant commotion and crying in that area. I was happy to leave. Max was too.
We stopped at the snack bar. (No outside food or beverages were allowed in.) Popcorn was $4.25. A pretzel was $3.75. Again, thankfully we just had Max. We were now 25 minutes into our stay at the event and had already spent $105.
There was a dinosaur ride that looked much like kids riding an elephant. They were a good size with a nice seat on top that looked sturdy and safe for the little ones. The line was long though, and Max lost interest after waiting for 10 minutes, so off we went to mini golf. He liked that. There were several sizes of clubs to choose from–good for kids of any size. It was not overcrowded because only a few kids were allowed on the course at a time. When one child finished with the ball, they came and handed off that ball to the next kid in line. So it was metered very well. Also, nobody rushed anyone. If it took 30 tries to get the ball in the hole, that was okay. It took Max about 5 minutes to complete the course.
Then it was time to hand in our scavenger hunt sheet and trade it for a small sticker or small toy dinosaur. And exit.
Total time at the event: Less than 50 minutes. $105.
I almost forgot to mention that there were even more activities available, for extra money. Face painting was around $8-12 each! and there was a gem dig that was pricey as well.
For us, this wasn’t worth the money. We have the great Boston Museum of Science not too far from us. For us, our money would have been better spent visiting there rather than this particular dinosaur exhibit. For the same money we could have seen a large display of dinosaurs, bones, and many other interesting things. We could have been there for hours. But for you, if you don’t have that option, a visit to this exhibit could be fun. Just be prepared to add some of your own teachings to it in order to lengthen the time in the exhibit areas. And if you don’t plan to spend the extra $5 for the additional kid activities, plan to have to explain to your children why they have to walk through the crowds of all the other kids doing those activities in order to leave, as there is no other way out.
I hope this was helpful!