Note: If you’d like information on the gnomes in the Dinosaur Museum, try this link.
I cannot even count the times I have been to the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point. We have a pass to Thanksgiving Point, and it is only about 10 minutes away, so we head to the museum if we ever need to get out of the house. I have never met a child who doesn’t like to go to the Dinosaur Museum. They have lots of different dinosaur displays, and some great hands-on activities for the kids.
As you walk through the museum there are lots of artifacts to touch and if you go during the day, you can watch the paleontologists work on dinosaur bones in their lab. I like that they have the exhibits in order of their timeline on earth. You feel like you are walking through time that way, starting with fish and smaller creatures, building up to dinosaurs, and ending with a wooly mammoth and cave people. The two highlights for most children are the erosion table and the fossil dig. At the erosion table, kids can move the sand around to change the water flow as well as play with plastic dinosaurs. They can build and create, and get wet and sandy, in this room. It is hard to keep my one-year-old from throwing dinosaurs or splashing in the water, which are no nos, but he has such a great time. The fossil dig is at the end of your journey through the museum. Here children can pretend to be paleontologists and brush the sand off of dinosaur bones in a huge sand box. They have full-sized fossils hidden for the kids to discover.
I think the only drawback to this museum is the price ($10/adult and $8/child). I have a yearly pass, so I just go as often as I want. If you watch in the summer (usually August) they have $2 Tuesdays where you can get into the museum, and other venues at Thanksgiving Point, for only $2. But these days are very busy! If you go on a Monday Night from 5-7 PM, they have Museum Mondays where they usually do crafts and activities. Then you get a little more for your money. You can look these up online at their website (look under the Learn section).