Most kids love dinosaurs. They read about them, play with dinosaur toys, and flock to the “Jurrasic Park” movies.
There’s just something cool about these giant lizards and their prehistoric cohorts such as wooly mammoths, saber-tooth tigers, and giant sloths.
These creatures capture the imaginations of children and many of the little tykes can identify and name all kinds of species.
Research has shown that kids who like dinosaurs tend to do better in school. When they grow up, a lot of children still think dinosaurs are pretty cool.
Fortunately, there are many museums and parks around the nation where kids and kids at heart can see dinosaur fossils.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
As exciting as it may seem, you’re not likely to be able to go stegosaurus fossil hunting.
However, you can still see entire skeletons of the massive creatures put together with fossils found by archeologists.
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has plenty of these fossils, including the full skeleton of a baby stegosaurus.
You can see how small their spikes were and get an idea of the growth cycle.
Yellowstone National Park
If plants are more your bag, take a trip to Yellowstone National Park. Although best known for the geyser, Old Faithful, Yellowstone is also home to the most concentrated fossil forest in the world.
The heavy volcanic activity there 50 million years ago covered a 40-acre area with ash and debris, preserving more than 100 species of plants.
You can see petrified trees standing tall just as they did in prehistoric times.
Dinosaur National Monument
Located in both Utah and Colorado, Dinosaur National Monument is the site of a quarry packed with the fossils of dozens of prehistoric creatures.
Inside the Quarry Exhibit Hall, there are more than 1,500 fossils on display. Meet the mighty allosaurus, a 30-foot behemoth that was the top predator in its day.
You can also see stegosaurus, diplodocus, and apatosaurus fossils.
Waco National Mammoth Monument
Texas’ Waco National Mammoth Monument is a site with plenty of fossils from the Ice Age.
What makes this monument special is the finding of the fossils of a herd of Columbian mammoth females with a group of babies.
This indicates that mammoths may have lived very similarly to their descendants, elephants.
Other fossils found here are those of a baby saber-tooth cat, an American camel, and a giant tortoise.
Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument
Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument contains more Pliocene Epoch fossils than any other site in the world.
Included are more than 200 different species that lived in the Idaho location 3-4 million years ago.
The main feature is the namesake Hagerman Horse, the oldest known equine species. The earliest known ancestor of the river otter, Lontra weiri can also be seen here.
If you or your kids love dinosaurs and ancient creatures, take a trip to one of these wonderful parks and monuments to see fossils and entire skeletons or plants. It’s the next best thing to having a time machine.