Editor’s note: This is a personal review from 2013. Your experience and current program offerings may be different.
Sure, going downtown to scope out Sue is cool, and The Brookfield Zoo might have animatronic dinosaurs; but come on, sometimes you just don’t want to drive that far for your dinosaur fix. Luckily for Lake County residents, just a quick hop over the border to Kenosha, Wisconsin allows your dinosaur-obsessed child a chance to be a paleontologist. The best part? It’s FREE!
Dinosaur Discovery Museum, Kenosha
“Dino Digs” is held every Saturday and Sunday from 1:00-4:00 p.m. this summer at The Dinosaur Discovery Museum in Kenosha. This program is designed for children ages three and older. My three-year-old and his friends loved it!
Each child is given paleontologist tools and a set of goggles and is set to the task of unearthing dinosaur skeletons. It’s a fun activity, but the space is small, and the dig itself goes by quickly. For space considerations and time spent, I found it most appropriate for preschoolers or young school-age children. Older kids may find the activity a bit lacking.
Along with the dig, children can enjoy some dinosaur storytime and a little Q & A with museum volunteers. The program is held in the lower level of the museum, which also houses The Carthage Institute of Paleontology and Kids Discovery Lab. Afterward, your children can make dinosaur rubbings or color pictures as well as read educational dinosaur books. As they peek through the Paleontology Institute window, they will see actual dinosaur fossil bones of Little Clint, a juvenile T-Rex. The whole experience lasts about 45 minutes, with new groups rotated in and out during the 1:00-4:00 p.m. program period. It may be longer or shorter based on how long your child takes advantage of the Kids Discovery Lab.
The Dino Digs program is a perfect accompaniment to a visit to the main gallery, which houses the most extensive collection of meat-eating theropods in North America. The uninitiated parent who hasn’t been paying attention to Dinosaur Train translates into lots of dinosaurs who stand on two feet and have really sharp teeth. Although the exhibit boasts impressive specimens, the main gallery is literally one large room. Even those with a serious interest in dinosaurs will find it hard to spend more than 20 minutes examining the fossils. Perfect for those with short attention spans, but not so for anyone with grand expectations. Still, for a quick afternoon trip and FREE, it fit the bill for us.
If you’re looking for a leisurely excursion and want to impress your own junior paleontologist, hit the road for Kenosha this summer! To make it a full day trip, check out some of these other family-friendly locations nearby:
- Bristol Renaissance Faire (Open July – September)
- Thompson Strawberry Farm (estimate Mid-June)
- Jerry Smith’s Pumpkin Farm (Open September)
The Dinosaur Discovery Museum
5608 Tenth Avenue, Kenosha, WI | 262-653-4450
Admission is FREE but donations are accepted
Parking: Free and metered on-street parking is available surrounding the Museum; parking for a very limited number of vehicles (12) is available on the northwest side of the Museum grounds.
When Loralie isn’t out exploring with her two pint-sized adventurers you’ll often find her in front of her computer plotting to take over the world (or at least Lake County.) She appreciates good friends, good food, expensive shoes and parents who make two lanes in the drop-off/pick-up line at school. Her spirit animal is The Hobbit. She invites you to join her on her quest for unique distractions, diversions and deliciousness in this county we call home.