The Ultimate Dinosaur Hunting Guide To The Midwest

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Roar! If you’re like me, you have one or more dinosaur fans in your household that can’t seem to stop stomping around or sharing the latest dinosaur fact they’ve learned: “Mom, did you know that chickens are descendants from dinosaurs?” 

Dinosaurs have ruled my house for years, and we’ve done our fair share of dino hunting. Check out these dino-mite Midwest spots you and your own dino-lovers can’t miss. 


The Field Museum, Chicago

Kids will dig: SUE, the famous T. rex we all know and love, will no longer be featured on the lower level. But don’t worry, she will still be in the building. Sue will have a new home in the Evolving Planets area of the museum in the spring of 2019. 

In the prime viewing space will be a cast of a Titanosaur, the largest dinosaur ever discovered! She will be on display in late spring 2018. Some of her real bones will also be on display, including an 8-foot-long thigh bone.

Burpee Museum of Natural History, Rockford

Kids will dig: Jane, the most complete juvenile T. rex, and Homer, a Triceratops. Want more dino fun? Sign kids up for one-day summer dino camps.

Bess Bower Dunn Museum, Libertyville

Kids will dig: Standing 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

Kids will dig: Being a part of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno’s team and exploring a recreated Saharan expedition, then find a life-size Suchomimus skeleton in a huge dino pit.


Dinosaur Discovery Museum, Kenosha

Kids will dig: Hanging out with more than 20 meat eating dinosaurs! Don’t miss the newest 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. Expect interactive activities, including pretending to hatch in a nest and climbing into a dino dig to excavate fossils. 

Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee

Kids will dig: The Third Planet exhibit features dinosaurs in a diorama complete with thunder and the roaring of a life-sized replica of T. rex.

Madison Geology Museum, Madison

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.


Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis

Kids will dig: The dinosaurs ON the outside of the building welcoming you, plus everything in Dinosphere! Kids can literally spend hours here by digging for dino bones and learning all about the dinosaur skeletons on display. Check out Leonardo, a mummified Brachylophosaurus, which is important to science for its first real look at the skin and scales of a dinosaur. Learn more about Dracorex, the newest dinosaur on the block, which bears a resemblance to a fairytale dragon.  


Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland

Kids will dig: Meeting "Happy," a 70-foot-long "Haplocanthosaurus delfsi" sauropod, plus other dinosaur friends in the Kirtland Hall of Prehistoric Life. The latest exhibit, Pterosaurs, should also not to be missed.

COSI: Center of Science and Industry

Kids will dig: Getting face to face with 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, Sandusky

Kids will dig: Dinos that move and roar. “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.  


Detroit Zoo, Royal Oak

Kids will dig: The forty lifelike animatronic dinosaurs are invading the Detroit Zoo this summer as part of Dinosauria, the largest exhibit of its kind in the country. Enter your own “Zoorassic World” and explore the five-acre Dino Trail. Watch out though, these creatures may be lurking close by. (May 25-Sept. 3)


The Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul

Kids will dig: Saying they’ve seen 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.


Sternberg Museum, Hays

Kids will dig: Walking 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, Derby

Kids will dig: Walking through the 14 dino-infested acres with thirty life-size animatronic dinosaurs. Find out which dinosaurs were unique to Kansas, then dig for fossils and play mini golf. 

Keystone Gallery, Oakley

Kids will dig: A 20-foot Mosasaur and 14-foot Xiphactinus, plus other fish, turtle and bird fossils.

Museum at Prairiefire, Overland Park

Kids will dig: Meeting AMNH 5027, the first complete T .rex ever assembled by famous paleontologist and Kansas native Barnum Brown. The Discovery Room awaits for those interested in more hands-on fun, including Paleontology. 

Fick Fossil & History Museum, Oakley

Kids will dig: Seeing the oldest known mosasaur fossil along with more than 11,000 shark teeth.  

KU Natural History Museum, Lawrence

Kids will dig: 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, Wichita

Kids will dig: 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, Rapid City

Kids will dig: 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!