I took my kids back—90 million years, to be exact—on a prehistoric trip to Field Station: Dinosaurs in Leonia, NJ. Nestled into Bergen County’s Overpeck Park, we amazingly entered the past, where these enormous, extraordinary creatures come back to life (thanks to robotics). And if your kids are up on their dino facts, this is the (almost) real deal—paleontologists have worked to ensure the exhibit utilizes the latest theories and discoveries in paleontology, geology, and environmental studies. It was a mind-blowing adventure at this Jurassic-like park, the only one on the East Coast (the other location is in Kansas), and my kids loved every minute of it, even becoming super paleontologists during our trip back in time. Read on for our prehistoric journey, and for more fun adventures around New Jersey, check out the 13 NJ Amusement Parks To Get Your Thrills Out This Summer Guide. (feature photo taken at Field Station: Dinosaurs)
Get your passport stamps around the park
The kids were given trail maps and passports as we entered the park. We were thrilled to learn that they could show their passports and receive a stamp when they completed an activity. After six stamps, they would become super paleontologists and couldn’t wait to earn the status. Our first area to explore was the dinosaur trail. As we wandered down the path, we were greeted by life-size and very realistic-looking dinosaurs, from the T-Rex to Baryonyx; many even moved and roared at us as we walked by. The detail of each creature was amazing, and the dinos were intriguing to look at, not imitating or scary. When the path meandered into the woods near a creek, I really did get the feeling we were transported back to the time of the dinosaurs.
Sing and dance with the dinosaurs
After taking lots of selfies with the dinosaurs, we reached the Amphitheater, where there are shows like T-Rex Feeding Frenzy and the Dinosaur Dance Party. Luckily, we made it just in time for the next show. I was impressed by the performers as they sang and found imaginative ways to keep the audience engaged. Seeing my kids interacting with them was so much fun, and they raised their hands at every opportunity they could. The shows were entertaining, and I learned quite a few things about these prehistoric creatures (some dinos were even as small as a cat). We even got to meet the mighty T-Rex, and as a bonus, the kids got their first passport stamp.
Dig for fossils
Next, we headed over to the Paleontologist’s Laboratory. The kids were handed goggles, digging tools, and a piece to dig for fossils. They soon began to dig and scrape quickly to discover the treasures inside. It took a little bit of elbow grease, but they uncovered their fossils and could take home each of their prehistoric finds in a pouch and earned more stamps for their Field Station: Dinosaurs passports.
Jump to be at eye level with a dinosaur
As we explored the grounds, it was hard not to ignore the happy screams and sights of kids getting air on a bungee trampoline aptly titled Jurassic Jump. My kids wanted to test out their jumping skills, and once they got harnessed in, they got some height (harnessed riders can jump 5 to 25 feet). Even though it goes high, I felt the attendants did a good job keeping it safe for all ages. When the kids finished, they received their last stamp and reached the super paleontologist level—they were happy to have such an honor and high-fived each other for the prehistoric recognition.
Field Station: Dinosaurs food, gifts, and events
We started getting hungry when we finished exploring, so we headed over to the outdoor food area to grab something to eat. We found a reasonable kid-friendly fare of hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream, and drinks, with plenty of picnic tables to enjoy your lunch. As we ended our adventure, we made sure not to miss the cleverly named Tricera-Shops on the way out with prehistoric-themed gifts, books, and toys. We also found out that Field Station: Dinosaurs has thrilling, educational, and fun events for all ages. My kids would be thrilled to do Dinosaurs After Dark in October, including a dinosaur sing-a-long around the campfire with roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate.
What to know before you go
The park is open seasonally from the end of May through November, and hours vary, so check the website before you go. For tickets, prices start at $19.25 for a basic ticket with add-ons for Jurassic Jump, Paleontologists Laboratory, and Dinosaurs After Dark. Season passes are available for $129 for a family 4-pack. Overall, the experience took about two hours, including most shows. My kids wore sneakers because it is a bit of walking and meandering around the woods. On the way home, as my kids admired their passports and stamps, we talked about what a unique and cool experience we had—Field Station: Dinosaurs in New Jersey gets two prehistoric thumbs up from us.
Field Station: Dinosaurs
3 Overpeck Park Driveway, Leonia, NJ 07605
Learn more about Field Station: Dinosaurs on their website, Facebook, and Instagram pages.
Have you been to Field Station: Dinosaurs in New Jersey? We would love to hear about it!
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