Sunday, June 8, 2008

Week 2: Dinosaurs

My family is headed to Vernal this week so naturally our theme will be about dinosaurs. We'll be going to the Field House Museum in Vernal (it's too bad the Dinosaur Quarry is closed right now) but there are plenty of dinosaur-themed activities in other parts of Utah as well.


Kids love dinosaurs and so dinosaurs are the stars of plenty of books for children. From board books with great pictures to more elaborate encyclopedias, you should have no trouble finding books about dinosaurs (we have dozens).

Dinosaur Roar (Picture Puffins) by Paul Stickland and Henrietta Stickland

This board book has been a favorite in our home for years. It doesn't teach so much about dinosaurs as opposites but the colorful dinosaur drawings are cute and the kids love them.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

Jane Yolen has written an entire series based on these dinosaurs. The books are humorous and clever.

The Usborne Internet-Linked Atlas of Dinosaurs (Usborne Internet Linked) by Susanna Davidson

Informational guides such as the one published by Usborne are packed with pictures and information about dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals.

You'll find plenty of books about dinosaurs at your local library. Here are a few more to look for:

The Big Book of Dinosaurs (Big Books) by Angela Wilkes

National Geographic Dinosaurs by Paul Barrett, Raul Martin, and Kevin Padian
Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff (A classic -- it takes me right back to my childhood.)

Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House, No. 1) by Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca

First Dinosaur Encyclopedia by DK Publishing


Find information about each dinosaur species and print out pictures to color on the Enchanted Learning website. Take a fun quiz about dinosaurs to test your knowledge when you're done.

If you were a dinosaur, which one would you be? Find out at the Natural History Museum website.

Dinosaurs have some really big names. Have you ever wondered how they get them? Now you can know.

Test your memory with a dinosaur matching game.

Watch clips from When Dinosaurs Roamed America on the Discovery Channel website.

Do you know how dinosaurs became fossils? Watch a video on the American Museum of Natural History Museum.

Print and make a flip book about a Tyrannosaurus Rex on the Field Museum website.


My knowledge of dinosaur movies is limited to Jurassic Park and The Land Before Time. If you're looking for some with more "accurate" information on dinosaurs check these out:

National Geographic - Dinosaurs Unearthed (Dino Autopsy / Dino Death Trap) ~ National Geographic (DVD - 2008)

Dinosaur Secrets Revealed (A&E DVD Archives) ~ Dinosaur Secrets Revealed (DVD - 2005)

The Complete Walking with... Collection ~ Stockard Channing, Larry Agenbroad, Frank Fish, and Larry Witmer (DVD - 2006)


The Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point is centrally located in the valley. Watch movies about dinosaurs or ancient sea creatures on the Mammoth screen or check out the great exhibits. It is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Prices vary so check out their helpful website.

BYU Earth Science Museum is located just west of Lavell Edwards Football Stadium. Learn about paleontology and even touch real fossils. It is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday and is FREE. Whoo Hoo!

Utah Museum of Natural History is located in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah. It boasts a large collection of dinosaur fossils and many other interesting exhibits. It is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Admission rates for adults and youth over 13 - $6 (unless you happen to be a student or UofU alumni. You can get discounted or free admission rates). Children from 3 - 12 years old - $3.50. Check out the website for more information.

Utah Field House of Natural History State Park and Museum is located in Vernal, Utah. It is open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily. Adults - $6 and children over 5 - $3. There are lots of exhibits and activities inside but my children especially enjoy the dinosaur gardens outside which has full-size replicas of many of our favorite dinosaurs.

Check out the Dinosaur Museum in Blanding Utah. It has many informative displays including an exhibit of dinosaur eggs. It is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Adults - $2 and children - $1.

Utah loves dinosaurs and you find more at Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park in Ogden, Utah. It is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Adults - $6, Children 2 - 12 - $4. (There are additional fees to participate in some activities.) This place is an adventure. Plan to stay awhile.

By the way, these ideas are just meant to enhance your summer. I believe strongly in the value of "free play" and hope my children will spend most of their time playing outside with each other and their neighborhood friends. But, when I hear "I'm bored . . .", I'll be ready.

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