Triceratops and pterodactyls and woolly mammoths… oh my! We ventured out on a little excursion this weekend and saw all of those things and more. Dinosaur World is located between Tampa and Orlando, right on I-4. You can’t miss it if you’re driving this way – the dinosaurs are right there, hanging out on the side of the highway, beckoning you in.
We’ve passed by those dinosaurs, oh I don’t know… HUNDREDS of times on our way to and from Orlando (our favorite vacation spot – Disney, here we come!). But we’ve never stopped. Until this weekend.
I actually found a Groupon deal for Dinosaur World that was too good to pass up. The tickets are pretty inexpensive anyway, but the deal was for 50% off, so I snatched them up!
One thing that we found out ahead of time by checking out their website was that Dinosaur World is pet friendly! How cool is that?! I was really surprised and very pleased. Our pooch, Star, came along for the trip, which was good for her. She needs a little socialization in her life. She gets too cooped up in our house. Time for an adventure!
About the first thing you get to when you go in (through the gift shop… where you’ll exit through later, while buying stuffed dinosaurs for pleading children) is a huge playground. A really nice one, too! The picture above is only half of it. And there’s another small playground for toddlers off to the side as well. I’m pretty sure Trevor could have stayed here and played all day if we’d have let him. He was in heaven!
But we decided to move on and look at some dinosaurs.
It’s very beautiful in the park. I’ll admit, I was quite surprised. From the road, Dinosaur World looks like it could be 50 years old and halfway abandoned. But it’s really under 20 years old, clean and neat, with gorgeous, lush landscaping and pristine boardwalks. Now I feel bad for thinking that way.
There are plenty of fun photo ops around every corner.
Most of the animals at Dinosaur World are behind ropes that you are not to cross. I was a bit bummed at first when I realized it wasn’t going to be a dinosaur-climbing free-for-all, but I suppose if they let every kid climb all over their dinos, they wouldn’t still look as nice and new as they do. Good point, Dinosaur World.
They do have a few animals that aren’t roped off, just for climbing on. We appreciated that.
You’ve gotta love a good game of “What’s that I’m feeling?” Trevor certainly did.
Ah, the Boneyard! Jillian had been here once before (without any of us), and this is the part she had gotten Trevor all excited about. A huge room filled with a dinosaur skeleton, just waiting to be uncovered by little hands armed with paintbrushes. Go to town, kids!
They even had a small area of stadium seating off to the side for parents. Apparently, some kids must stay here for hours! Mine lasted 15 minutes. That’s not bad in my book.
You’ve gotta get your “face in the hole” photo, people.
Who’s checking out whom?
Look closely on this dino’s back. It’s their present day ancestor, the lizard! My kids thought that was pretty cool.
Mining for gems was an add-on we didn’t do this time. It wasn’t included with our Groupon tickets, and I could have added it, but I wasn’t sure what it was or if we had any interest. Of course, after walking by, both kids assured me that they do indeed want to do this… next time.
What is included in your kid’s general admission pass is a ticket to a fossil dig, which was pretty cool. Trevor was dying to get in there and hunt for treasures! They could hunt for about 15 minutes, sifting through sand piles with little scoopers. And they got to pick three of their favorite finds each at the end.
Trevor picked three shark’s teeth, which he thought were just dandy. Jillian got one shark’s tooth, one piece of amber (I thought that was awesome!) and a little swirly thing we’re not quite sure about. But she was thrilled!
One thing you need to know before going is that they don’t sell food anywhere in Dinosaur World, so pack your lunches and snacks. I was totally fine with this, since we usually pack lunches anyway for Jillian’s sake. And why spend extra money when we don’t need to?
They do have some really nice picnic areas — a couple big stretches of picnic tables right by the playgrounds (where we ended up eating), and a few other small areas scattered throughout the park.
In all, it only took us 2 1/2 hours to do everything we wanted to do, including eat lunch and see a short show on excavation. It’s definitely not an all-day kind of trip, but it was totally worth the stop!
And here’s the sight you wanna see on the way home. All the kids passed out in the backseat… Well, two out of three ain’t bad.