Postcards & Passports

The Best Dinosaur Museum

This post was most recently updated on July 9th, 2019

img_1181The best dinosaur museum is one that isn’t too technical all the time –one that makes learning fun and interesting. It’s a museum that can appeal to kids and adults alike. And maybe it’s a dinosaur museum that knows not everyone is into dinosaurs.

If that’s true, then the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point is the best dinosaur museum. Ever.

I was invited to tour the Museum of Ancient History by Thanksgiving Point and give an honest review. ”Hmmm,” I thought. “Dinosaurs are not really my thing.” But I figured it could be an interesting way to spend the hotter hours of an August day in Lehi, Utah. And maybe my toddler-aged grandchildren would be entertained. My group included my husband, my daughter, my 1-yr old and 3-yr old grandchildren and me. Just so you know, our visit turned out to be a lot of fun…

Maybe Not Everyone’s Into Dinosaurs

There’s more here than just dinosaur bones. On this visit, we saw a fascinating exhibit on geometry called the Geometry Playground, on loan from San Francisco’s Exploratorium. With shapes to climb on and through, and “sculptures” made out of everyday objects, it was very interesting. (Note to self: What can I build with pencils?) There were very intricate origami designs of bugs and birds, with the folding diagram displayed so you could replicate them yourself. Uh-huh. Well, not me, but maybe someone else! #byumechanicalengineeringdept

Dinosaur Museum

Geometry Playground

You will also find a 3D Mammoth Screen Theatre, a gift shop, the Expedition Cafe, and a Jr. Paleo Lab where kids can learn more about archaelogy with hands-on activities. Right now, the theatre is showing movies about underwater sea life, China, and asteroids.

Appeals to Kids and Adults Alike

Nearly every exhibit has a way for adults and children to learn. Simple hands-on activities for the little ones, questions to make you think, and placards that explain information in greater detail.

Makes Learning Fun and Interesting

This is what really impressed me the most. It became fun to learn because of the clever ideas used to teach. I never would have thought of creating a mud-and-water exhibit so that kids (and adults) could see first-hand how easy it would be for dinosaurs to be buried in layers of silt. What kid doesn’t like to play in dirt and water?! (Don’t worry — they have waterproof aprons for the kids to wear!)

There was a sandbox with buried bones that kids could find by brushing and scraping away the sand. My granddaughter enjoyed pushing buttons, lifting flaps, and climbing through things to learn and find new facts about dinosaurs. It was fun to watch her explore and learn by doing so.

Dinosaur Museum

Learning to dig carefully for bones

We also found lots of surprises! Like the giant prehistoric shark that looks like it could eat you for lunch…a starlit tunnel you get to walk through in the dark…and close-up samples of amber where you really CAN see preserved insects.

Dinosaur Museum

Close-up of amber with preserved insects

Bottom Line…it’s a great dinosaur museum

If you or your kids love dinosaurs, this is the best dinosaur museum! If you’re not really into dinosaurs, this is still the best dinosaur museum because it will hold your interest and even provide some fun moments, especially if you visit with your children or grandchildren. We spent a little more than an hour here, but we were dealing with young ones who needed a nap. Plan to spend at least 2-3 hours — more if you visit the theatre, gift shop or cafe.

The price is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and kids 3-12, while ages 2 and under are free.

The Mammoth Screen 3D Theatre is additional: $8.50 adults/$7.00 children & seniors, but only $6.00 if you’ve already paid for museum admission.

Fun to Know

  • Once a month, you can attend a Late Night with Rex, an evening activity that includes popcorn and drinks, a movie, paleontology classes and a scavenger hunt.
  • There’s a Molding & Casting class on Saturdays and holidays
  • A Fossil Preparation class will inspire your kids to be future archaeologists, held on Saturdays and holidays.
  • You can even celebrate your birthday here with a special Ancient Life birthday party!
  • The best deal is the Explorer Pass, which allows you to visit all of Thanksgiving Point’s attractions in one day, for only $24.95/19.95.

Be sure to read my reviews of Thanksgiving Point’s other venues:

Ashton Gardens

The Museum of Natural Curiosity

Farm Country

Are YOU into dinosaurs? What do you like best about dinosaur museums?

Dinosaur Museum



21 thoughts on “The Best Dinosaur Museum

  1. Heather

    Cool!! I’m with you that dinosaurs aren’t really my thing, but I’m always amazed that whenever i am in a dinosaur museum I learn a lot! I’ll have to check this one out sometime.

  2. Vyjay

    Dinosaurs have always been a source of great fascination. But I do understand that not everyone would share the same fascination. This museum is really a fun place for kids and adults alike. I can see the kids enjoying themselves and also learning at the same time.

  3. Sarah (JetSetting Fools)

    We are self-proclaimed Non-Museum people…but that isn’t exactly true. We love interactive museums, places that engage and educate – and it sounds like this museum is one of them! Very cool find ~ would love to check it out someday!

  4. Annika

    What an awesome museum! I must say my favorite part about the Museum of Natural History in New York is the dinosaurs but how exciting to have a whole museum full of them?!

  5. Doreen Pendgracs

    This looks like a great dinosaur museum. But I have to tell you about the Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden, Manitoba, Canada. And the Tyrrell museum in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada. And the Canadian Discovery Centre in Eastend, Saskatchewan, Canada. These are all located along the Great Canadian Fossil Trail. You’d be amazed!

    1. Tami Post author

      That’s so cool, because my husband and I are going to Canada next year, and we’ve been thinking about Manitoba…now I know one of the things we’ll be checking out!

  6. Chris

    Looks a great place, but I’m not sure if any one museum would tick all the boxes as the best Dinosaur museum 😉

    The Field Institute in Chicago is great if your a dinosaur fan, but my personal favourite is the chance to see their footprints in Sucre, Bolivia

  7. Mimi

    How can you not like dinos! It is such an interesting thing part of our history! Would love to visit the place – I’d feel like a kid again I am sure!

  8. Lewi

    I actually am fascinated by dinosaurs, but I know that not everyone is. I want to go to the fossil preparation class (hope it’s not just for kids).

  9. Mar Pages

    Doesn’t seem like it, but I’m actually a geek for dinosaurs! Everything sounds wonderful and interesting I can imagine how much the kids would love it. Looks like a great day out, thanks for sharing!

  10. Ami

    Seems like a place that can bring out the kid in you. I would love to get my hands dirty with the mud and water section 😀 Damn…only that I will attract glares!

  11. Alessandra

    The kids look like they are having a blast – but it also sounds like a place for adults to visit as well! I know that my boyfriend would love to check this place out 🙂

  12. Pingback: Ashton Gardens of Thanksgiving Point - Postcards & Passports

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