dinosaurs in Cincinnati
Explore Cincinnati,  Travel

Plan A Dinosaur Week With These Activities In and Near Cincinnati

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Dinosaur fanatics will roar for a week dedicated to learning about these prehistoric predators. Whether seeing the dinosaurs on display at the Cincinnati Museum Center, digging for fossils, or enjoying a day at a dino-themed park, we have come up with the best ways to experience all things dino in and near Cincinnati.

Dinosaur and Fossils in Cincinnati
Dinosaurs at the Cincinnati Museum Center

While there are not many dinosaur or fossil attractions in Cincinnati, there are quite a few only a day trip away, which we will include in this list. In this guide, we will showcase the best spots to see dinosaur fossils, where you can dig for your own fossils, and fun dinosaur-themed activities that you can do at home.

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Plan An Dinosaur Week/ Dino Day

Designate a day or even a week to explore Dinosaurs. Hands-On experiences are often the best way to learn, so get out into the museums, pack a lunch, or bring your digging tools for a fossil-finding adventure.

Planning Tip: Many museums have varying hours and days of operation. For example, The Cincinnati Museum Center is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Dinosaur  Week Activity Schedule

Preparing For Dinosaur Week

Dinosaur week will require some preparation, as many activities will need supplies, and you will need to come prepared for a day of fossil hunting to succeed.

I love incorporating books into our weekly theme, so here are a few excellent resources for kids to check out from your local library or order online to keep in your permanent collection.

 Here are a few Dinosaur books I recommend: 

Usborne Art Treasury 

National Geographic First Big Book of Dinosaurs

Lift-the-flap Questions About Dinosaurs

Dinosaur Dance  

Kids Dino Sticker Activity Book

Grab Your Dinosaur Week Supplies

Depending on the type of adventure you are looking to have, your supplies will look different. We will list what to bring for fossil hunting in our Trammel Fossil Park recommendation.

Here are a few fun items to add to your dino week:

Dinosaur Toys with different dinosaurs

Dinosaur Water WOW

Dig A Dozen Dino Eggs Kit

The Best Dinosaur Spots in Cincinnati

Cincinnati is the perfect place to plan a fun dinosaur-themed day! Whether you want a budget-friendly way to explore the prehistoric past or splurge on a dinosaur experience, our guide breaks down the best spots to see dinosaurs in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Museum Center

The top spot to see dinosaurs year-round in Cincinnati is the Dinosaur Hall inside the Cincinnati Museum Center. Visitors come face-to-face with six prehistoric giants along with many other fascinating artifacts. The most impressive is the nearly 60-foot-long Galeamopus pabsti, a crowd favorite.

Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati Museum Center

Venture down the hallway to find a real paleontologist working on uncovering fossils and bones. A triceratops skull was slowly being removed from its cast during our recent visit.

Planning Tip: Dinosaur Hall is the only spot where dinosaurs are found in the museum. You can venture to the Ice Age Gallery to see fossils of mammoths, walk through a glacier and see life-size replicas of creatures found during the ice age.

A new exhibit will be opening up at the Natural Science and History Museum called Ancient Worlds. This gallery will take you through over 150 million years of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky’s exciting geologic past.

Budget Tip: Consider purchasing a membership to the museum center. The museum reciprocity will get you into neighboring science museums, children’s museums, and history museums for a discounted rate or even for free.

Trammel Fossil Park

Trammel Fossil Park in Sharonville, Ohio, is a park that the whole family will dig. This 10-acre fossil park is one of few places in Cincinnati where visitors can safely dig for fossils and keep what they find! Round up the archeologists in your family for a day of adventure at Trammel Fossil Park. 

trammel fossil park
Trammel Fossil Park

What To Bring For Fossil Hunting

Good archeologists should come prepared for their dig, whether big or small. The terrain is rocky and steep, so proper footwear is encouraged. Sandals are not a good option because they are easy to slide and slip on loose rocks. 

Here are a few other items to consider bringing in your backpack: 

  • Sunscreen. The park offers little to no shade. 
  • A bucket to collect treasures in.
  • Paint Brushes of different sizes.
  • A water sprayer filled with water.  
  • An extra bottle of water for the sprayer.
  • Shovels and spades.
  • Screwdrivers-big and little to help pick fossils out. 
  • A pickaxe for those older archeologists. 
  • A towel 
  • A drink and snacks.  

I recommend checking out my Guide To Trammel Fossil Park for a detailed look into what to expect because, at first glance, you will think I sent you to a random rock pile in the sun.

Planning Tip: The Root Beer Stand is right around the corner from Trammel Fossil Park. It is a summer staple in Cincinnati, so grab lunch to go or enjoy it before or after your adventure.

Big Bone Lick State Park

Big Bone Lick State Park in Union, Kentucky, allows visitors to view bison completely free! Remains of ancient mammoths, Pleistocene megafauna, have been found in the area known as the Big Bone Lick State Historic Site.

Big Bone Lick State Park
Big Bone Lick State Park

Step back in time by visiting the museum near the Bison Trace Trail. Inspect bones from mammoths, bison, and mastodons. Marvel at how sheer size of a giant ground sloth skeleton before admiring the skull of a mammoth!

Discover our Guide to Big Bone Lick State Park and plan your adventure!

Planning Tip: Big Bone Lick State Park does offer camping for families looking to turn their adventure into an overnight.

Blue Ash Nature Park

I will let the cat out of the bag on one of our favorite parks in the city, the Blue Ash Nature Park. While many locals flock to Summit Park in Blue Ash, this little park is a hidden gem. Not only are there four different playgrounds for kids to explore, but there is also a story trail, picnic shelters, an amphitheater, and, best of all, tons of shade!

Blue Ash Nature Park
Blue Ash Nature Park

One of our favorite areas has been the dino-themed toddler playground, complete with a dino slide. My daughter will still call this the dino park. You can find the park tucked away next to the Blue Ash Police Station, and it is entirely free to the public.

Address: 4337 Cooper Rd, Blue Ash, OH 45242

Jurassic Quest

Once a year, Jurassic Quest rolls into Cincinnati, offering dinosaur fans a weekend full of life-size animatronic dinosaurs. Often at the convention center, Jurassic Quest offers dinosaurs the opportunity to ride one, dig for fossils, meet baby dinosaurs, and do other dinosaur-themed activities.

Planning Tip: Tickets can be pricey, especially if bringing more than one child.

Day Trips From Cincinnati To Nearby Dinosaur Exhibits

Dinosphere at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum

Step into the world of the dinosaurs with a visit to the Dinosphere. As the world’s largest children’s museum, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum didn’t cut corners on making its dinosaur exhibit one-of-a-kind.

Dinosaur road trip from Cincinnati
Indianapolis Children’s Museum

The Dinosphere is broken down into five different areas to explore. The Giants of the Jurassic, Creatures of Cretaceous, Paleo Lab, Art Lab, and Monsters of the Mesozoic Seas. Each with interactive ways for kids to learn about dinosaurs.

Don’t miss the live shows, which have the audience looking closer at the dinosaur skeletons in the Dinosphere; even I went away learning some fascinating fun facts.

Planning Tip: The museum uses a Plan Ahead Pricing model, which allows you to save up to 25% by buying general admission tickets at least two weeks in advance. Prices will never fall below what is listed today but will increase until the visit date—so you can lock in the price by purchasing that day.

Trip Time: 2 Hours from Cincinnati

Indianapolis Children's Museum: Dinosaurs
Indy Children’s Museum

Dinosaur Gallery at COSI

Another excellent day trip to see dinos is a visit to the Dinosaur Gallery at COSI in Columbus, Ohio. COSI is known for its incredible science exhibits, but they also have a Dinosaur Gallery worth visiting.

Get up close with a full cast of a T-Rex, see a fossilized feather sealed inside ancient Burmese amber and then a climbable, full-scale model of an Oviraptor on her nest.

Planning Tip: If you have a Cincinnati Museum Membership, you can get FREE or discounted tickets to COSI.

Trip Time: 1.5 Hours from Cincinnati

Otten Geological Museum-Columbus

If you venture to Columbus for COSI, be sure to schedule a stop at the Otten Geological Museum at Ohio State. The Orton Geological Museum contains more than 57,000 lots of rocks, minerals, and fossils from around the world and even outer space.   See a cast of a T-Rex skull, a giant ground sloth, and so much more.

Planning Tip: The Museum Gallery usually is open to the public for FREE from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday, with an occasional Saturday.

Trip Time: 1.5 Hours From Cincinnati

Dinosaur World

Dinosaur World is a classic roadside attraction near Mammoth Cave, complete with cheesy life-size dinosaurs. Spend the day outdoors wandering among hundreds of dinosaurs and playing at the dino playground. Kids will love this attraction, especially if you have a dino fanatic in your family.

Trip Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes

Dinosaur Activities To Do At Home

Make Your Own Salt Dough Fossils

Kids will love this fun and easy way to explore dinosaurs by creating their own fossils! Gather a few dinosaur toys and an easy salt dough for hours of fun!

Create Your Own Dinosaur Fossil Directions

  1. Mix 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, and 1 cup water together in a bowl.
  2. Knead the dough for 2 minutes or until it’s firm.
  3. Create your own dinosaur bones with the dough, or use them to make imprints of dinosaurs.
  4. Bake the dinosaur fossils at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes per inch of thickness.
  5. Allow bones and fossils to cool completely.

After your fossils have dried place them in kinetic sand or a sand box with a paintbrush so that they can uneath them over and over again.

Create A Dinosaur Terrarium

Use model dinosaurs to build adorable little terrarium scenes. You can purchase your own terrarium kit or gather supplies from around the house to make it.

Place flat glass marbles, rocks, plants, and dinosaurs inside the jar to create a terrarium. Add moss for a natural look. Place the lid onto the jar. Glue a few rocks and a dinosaur to the top of the jar lid.

Make Dinosaur Crafts

An easy dino activity is to create a few dinosaur crafts at home. Use craft supplies at home or even print out dinosaur coloring pages. Make dinosaur feet from construction paper, craft a paper plate dino, or paint dinosaur tracks by using dipping your child’s dinos feet in paint.

Pinterest is full of easy crafts for all ages!

Have A Dino Dance Party

Need an impromptu activity? Play Laurie Berkner Band ” We Are The Dinosaurs” to kick off your dino dance party. Play a line-up of your child’s favorite songs and have them dance like the different dinosaurs!

Dino Week is a part of our Explore Cincinnati With Kids Series. For more fun things to do in Cincinnati with kids, check out these related articles:

Top Spots To Go Creeking In Cincinnati: Creek Week

Discover The Art Scene In Cincinnati: Art Week

35 Fun Things to Do in Cincinnati with Kids

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the ultimate dino week guide in Cincinnati Ohio