The Dinosaur Place At Nature’s Art – A Review

Ready to take a walk on the wild side?!

This is a great outdoor activity.  Kids can play at the playground, explore dinosaurs in the woods, go through a dinosaur maze, splash in the splash pad, picnic, discover, learn, and play some more.

dinosaur place dinosaur

In the “summer season”, as you pull up to the Dinosaur Place, you are greeted by a giant T-rex(Monty) holding a coke and wearing giant sunglasses!  You’ll see two buildings.  A giant white building is on the left.  Inside this building is the INDOOR adventure.  Go over to the smaller building on the right (the one with the ice cream shop) to visit the OUTDOOR adventure. The Outdoor Adventure is  the section I will be describing.

One of the best playgrounds around awaits you as you start off on your adventure. Once you have explored the playground, and you can convince your kids that you “will return”, you can choose one of three different paths.  To get started you can go under the giant life-sized dinosaur and cross the bridge.  You’ll see a path to the right.  I believe it is “The Raptor Bay” trial.  This will point you to the maze.  This is the only part of the walk that is a little steep.  Climb the path, through the woods to discover more life-size dinosaurs waiting, and a super fun maze with two more slides.  One of the slides goes through a T-rex’s mouth.  There is a boardwalk for parents to spy on their kids running through the maze.  But, you might want to tag along.  The maze does get confusing.

dinosaur place dinosaur

Then, when you have had your fill of the maze, and you will head back down the hill, to the bridge.  There are two more paths to explore.  If you are back at the Brachiosaurus, the path to your immediate left, that hugs the lake is short and simple.  This is the “Mesozoic Trail”. It is a dead-end, but still fun.  You’ll see some more dinosaurs in the woods, and the prehistoric alligator coming from the water.

dinosaur place dinosaur

Finally, take the long path that circles through the woods, and ends at the volcano.  This is the “Connecticut Trail”. Here you’ll spy several more dinosaurs all over the path, and discovery boxes.  You’ll also have the opportunity, if your kids allow, to read the origin of each dinosaur you happen upon. I’ve mastered the art of speed reading!  Kids love to run from dinosaur shouting, “I found another one!”.  They also love to explore the discovery boxes.  So fun!  The volcano, back at the lake, erupts every hour.

dinosaur place sprinkler pad

If you are visiting during the summer months, there is also a splash pad and concessions stand.  The splash pad is dinosaur themed.  There are very clean changing rooms next to the splash pad.  The one time we paid for SUMMER admission, our kids had a blast.  So did we!  It was small enough to manage the kids but big enough for the “Wow”!

Note: My husband argues that we have splurged for summer prices twice.  I don’t remember that.?

Mom’s Rating:
The place is always clean, the staff is always friendly, and it’s never too crowded.  It’s always just right.  The kids get so excited to go.  They love to run along the path, play and discover.  The paths are nice and wide, and the forest seems so undisturbed. It’s a very pleasant day out for the whole family.

Our only complaint is the cost for a young family.  We spend about $100, just to get in.

Favorite Season To Visit:
Spring and Fall.
Summer does offer a splash pad, for a few dollars more.

Activities/Things To Do:

What to pack:
Sunblock – the playground gets hot
Water for the walk
Picnic-we love to pack a picnic, or Subway did just open up in town.  It’s on the way in for us.  I have to get the address.  The picnic tables are through the Outdoor adventure building with  a nice view of the lake and dinosaurs.
$$$Kids will definitely want a souvenir, and ice-cream to finish the adventure
Credit Cards-They are accepted
Stroller or Baby Carrier-the walk can get  a little long for little legs!
Camera/Video Camera

A picnic is a nice way to start the walk.  Full tummies will be a lot happier on the paths!
The picnic area is very clean.
There are activities inside. Upstairs is is gift shop, concessions and tables, a gem store.  Downstairs is the indoor adventure with, mining and fossil digs.  There are different prices for different levels of the experience.

Is There Anything That Made This Mom Nervous?:
The maze does have a boardwalk, but you can’t see everything.  My older kids love to go over and over.  I’ve never really been nervous, but for the really little ones, I would tag along.  They are all over the place.

Dad’s 2 cents$$$.  What’s All of This Quality Time Going To Cost Me?:
Spring & Fall – ages 2-59 weekdays $13.99 weekends/holidays $15.99 60+weekdays $11.99 weekends/holidays $13.99 – 2 and under Free

Summer-each day $18.99 – 60+15.99 – 2 and under Free

They definitely raised the spring and fall prices since we started going.  I believe it was a little more reasonable for the paths.  Now, the cost is pretty much the same.  The cost is the one complaint we here, every time we talk about the fun we have there.

GPS users- 1650 Hartford New London Turnpike, Oakdale, CT

Looks like the Indoor adventures are only on Sat. and Sun. 10-5
The rest of the park is 10-6

Kid’s Thoughts:
Abi’s Rating-(An 8 year old kid’s take on the place):10 with the water park! 10 without the water park!
Michael’s Favorite Part: “My favorite part is getting to see the dinosaurs”.

Our Experience:
My son, Michael is a future paleontologist.  At least, he was before Power Rangers entered his life.  When discovered his love for dinosaurs, and all things ferocious, I didn’t know a Stegosaurus from a Triceratops.  Now, we are loving dinosaurs together, as a family.  I looked everywhere, online, to find a great museum to learn more.  The kids were really young then, and I didn’t want to take them to a “classic” museum.  Connecticut does offer a few dinosaur places, but from reading about them, they didn’t really seem like they would hold the kids attention.  And, they didn’t seem too exciting.  I found this website, and thought it offered enough to justify packing the whole family in to the van.  We had gotten used to showing up somewhere, and being let down.  Sometimes places put more energy into their websites, than their place.

We were glad we pushed on.I couldn’t believe the amazing playground.  Those are hard to come by.  When you move to a new area with small kids, you are always looking for a great play scape area.  Wow, this one is so much fun.

The paths are great for us.  The signs say not to climb on the dinosaurs, but we have so many great Kodak moments from sitting on top of a life size dinosaur.  Sorry dinosaur place.  We are always very careful.

The volcano has sent some of my kids running. I don’t know why.  It’s really only a little rumble, and some smoke.   But, that’s fine, by the end of the path, we are ready to hang out at the playground some more!

I am so glad that this place exists to further our excitement for all things prehistoric!

More Pictures – To Get A Better Visual:

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If you would like to visit the Dinosaur Place Web site:

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