Date Posted: 25/06/2015
Photo Credit: Dinosaur Isle, Isle of Wight
To celebrate the release of summer blockbuster Jurassic World, we’ve devised some suggestions for dinosaur days out with the help of Ricky Sutton from GoEuro.
Jurassic World has recently been released in cinemas, but unfortunately a real life dinosaur theme park is still a long way off becoming a reality. Or is it? More and more dinosaur attractions in both the UK and Europe are opening Dino-themed exhibitions and experiences, where the dinosaurs are becoming more and more lifelike. Here are a few of the best for groups…
Dinosaur Isle in Sandown on the Isle of Wight currently houses around 30,000 geological specimens reflecting the Island’s geological history from Early Cretaceous to Early Oligocene and Pleistocene age. The collection contains partial and near complete dinosaur skeletons, including the neovenator salerii. Groups can visit an introductory exhibition covering the Ice Age and the Cretaceous period when dinosaurs lived. The museum also has a large dinosaur gallery which features fossils, skeletal re-constructions, life sized fleshed re-constructions and two animatronic dinosaurs.
Dinosaur Isle offers guided walks at sites of known palaeontological and geological interest with special walks occurring during the Isle of Wight Autumn Walking Festival 2015, which runs from 23rd to 26th October. Also from 21st to 22nd November, Dinosaur Isle will be hosting Blast from the Past, an event where groups can discover fossils, prehistoric finds and other ancient artefacts from the Solent area, talk to palaeontologists, natural historians and local collectors and attend a number of talks and walks.
For pre-booked groups of ten or more, Dinosaur Isle offers discounted admission rates.
Natural History Museum
Synonymous with ‘Dippy’ the 26 meter-long diplodocus skeleton in the main hall, The Natural History Museum in London houses one of the most extensive dinosaur collections in the world. (However, it was recently announced that ‘Dippy’ will be replaced after 109 years with a blue whale skeleton.)
Displays in the museum’s dinosaur gallery will teach visitors about the appearance of dinosaurs, what they ate, and how they evolved. Groups can also confront a tyrannosaurs rex, unearth baryonyx bones and inspect a triceratops skeleton.
Also the museum boasts the most intact stegosaurus fossil skeleton ever found that stands at three metres tall and almost six metres long. Visitors can explore a 3D model, touch and examine casts of a back plate, tail spike and skull, and watch a film about the science behind the stegosaurus.
The Naturkundemuseum in Berlin is home to The World of Dinosaurs exhibition showcasing seven complete dinosaur skeletons including the 13-metre Brachiosaurus brancai, the tallest dinosaur skeleton in the world. The museum also contains a 150 million year old fossil of the archaeopteryx lithographica, a primeval bird.
Additionally, pre-booked groups of up to 15 can attend a 45-minute guided tour of the dinosaur exhibition. Larger groups will be split up.
The Jurassic Dinosaurs guided tour considers the environment where the dinosaurs lived 150 million years ago, their food sources and other plants and animals that lived alongside them.
The Land, Water and Air –the Dinosaur Habitats guided tour examines the habitats and feeding habits of a number of dinosaurs.
The Jurassic Coast was England's first natural World Heritage Site covering 95 miles of coastline from East Devon to Dorset. Groups can visit a multitude of visitor centres and museums along the coast which display 185 million years of local geology.
Groups can book fossil walks for Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre. The walks last for two hours and begin with a 20-minute talk from the centre warden about the fossils of Charmouth and how to find them on the beach. You will then spend the rest of the session on the beach searching for fossils.
The Lyme Regis Museum also runs daily guided fossils walks with a local geologist on the beaches around Lyme Regis for groups of up to 20 per guide, with each walk lasting up to three hours. Purchasing a fossil walk ticket gives you free entry to the museum, which features displays of rare fossils and tributes to prominent early palaeontologist Mary Anning.
The Seaton Jurassic in Seaton, East Dorset is a visitor centre opening in spring 2016. The centre’s displays will explain the history behind the Jurassic Coast and the landscape, geology, the marine ecology and the geomorphology around Seaton.
Longleat Safari and Adventure Park
Longleat Estate in Wiltshire has recently introduced new prehistoric adventure Dinosaurs Alive. Visitors can walk amongst animatronic dinosaurs including a 15-metre long brachiosaurus and an eight metre long tyrannosaurus rex. Other species on display are the stegosaurus, triceratops, megalosaurus and pteranodon.
You could be forgiven for thinking you’re in a scene from Jurassic World as a pair of dinosaurs will roam freely around the estate. Visitors should be wary of some unexpected dinosaur encounters.
Groups can also try out their own palaeontology skills in the Dinosaur Discovery Zone or visit Animal Adventure for reptile encounters where they will find out why reptiles are one of the closest descendants of the dinosaurs.
Pre-booked groups of 12 or more will receive discounted admission rates to the Park.