If you’ve got kids going through a dinosaur phase or are curious about history, taking the family to see dinosaurs in New Jersey should be on your bucket list. After all, NJ is where the world’s first complete dinosaur skeleton was discovered, and there’s even an official state dinosaur (the Hadrosaurus, in case you were wondering) because of that milestone discovery. Whether it’s seeing a T-Rex roar back to life, going on a dino dig, or exploring the site where the first bones were found, there’s something for every age and dino enthusiast. Scroll down for 12 places to see dinosaurs in New Jersey and nearby and learn more about these prehistoric reptiles. (featured image taken at Field Station: Dinosaurs)
12 ways to see dinosaurs in New Jersey and nearby
Dinosaurs in North Jersey
Dino Dig Adventure at Liberty Science Center
Kids will love spending time in the pits at the Dino Dig Adventure. The three covered pits hold more than 60 tons of sand, and littles can work like paleontologists to find what’s buried underneath. As they brush away the grains, they’ll uncover a collection of fossils from seven dinosaur species and even dig for dino “poop.”
222 Jersey City Blvd., Jersey City, NJ 07305
How cool would it be to hold real fossils? In the Digging Dinosaurs Galley, you can touch real fossils (and a dinosaur egg!) while learning about the existence of dinosaurs that once walked through New Jersey. When you’re done with the dinos, head to some other exhibits, including the model trains, Native American, and temporary collections, which usually focus on Morris County history.
6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, NJ 07960
Riker Hill Fossil Site
This is an excellent place for you dino-lover to explore to see actual dino tracks. This Essex County site is one of only two known localities of major size along the Northeastern coast, where large numbers of dinosaur footprints are preserved.
Sunshine Lane, Livingston, NJ 07039
Field Station: Dinosaurs
Travel to the prehistoric past at Field Station, where you can enjoy dinosaur shows, walk along wooded trails with live-action dinosaurs, and partake in dino-themed experiences. While kids will be amazed at how the dinos are so lifelike, they’ll also get a science lesson on the habits and facts about each prehistoric predator. For more info on how to make the most of your trip, check out our recent excursion to Field Station: Dinosaurs.
3 Overpeck Park Driveway, Leonia, NJ 07605
Dinosaurs in Central Jersey
Rutgers Geology Museum
Kids will be in awe to know that the fossils and skeletons here were all found in parts of NJ. You can take a guided museum tour and enjoy their special events, including dinosaur-related activities such as making a fossil necklace and constructing a moveable dinosaur.
85 Somerset Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
NJ State Museum Fossils
There are 2 million prehistoric and historical pieces in Archaeology & Ethnography, consisting of specimens from afar brought back to New Jersey. The museum’s Natural History exhibit features collections of native fossils, bones, minerals and ores, and animal studies. Look out for fossil collecting trip events too.
205 West State St., Trenton, NJ 08608
Big Brook Fossils
Kids will feel like real explorers at this site, where they can dig for teeth and fossils from the Late Cretaceous period, about 70 million years ago. Wear rubber boots since most of the fossils you uncover will be in the river and mud. Check the website for fossil regulations and places to find them.
95 Hillsdale Road, Colts Neck, NJ 07722
Allaire State Park
Tucked away in this park is an art project that morphed into a full-blown dinosaur exhibit made from branches and natural materials. Kids and adults will be in awe of the twig-sculpted T-rex, triceratops, and more as they walk through the trails surrounded by nature. The dinosaur area is east of the group campground—and if you go, plan to spend the day at Allaire State Park with the village, antique trains, and lots of trails.
4001 Squankum-Allenwood Rd., Allenwood, NJ 07719
Dinosaurs in South Jersey
Hadrosaurus Lane and Hadrosaurs Discovery Site
Did you know that NJ is where paleontologists found the first nearly complete dinosaur skeleton in the world? While you won’t see the actual Hadrosaurus Foulkii (it’s in a museum archive in Philadelphia), you can stand on the discovery site (marked by a plaque) where dinos once roamed and see a recreated statue in the center of downtown. This historic landmark gives you history about bones and the importance of such a milestone discovery.
Sculpture: 37e Lantern Ln, Haddonfield, NJ 08033
Park: Grove St. and Maple Ave., Haddonfield, NJ. Located in a wooded area at the end of Maple Avenue, Haddonfield. Video with more information on site.
COMING IN 2023: Jen & Ric Edelman Fossil Park and Museum at Rowan University
This new museum, located above a quarry filled with 66-million-year-old marine and terrestrial fossils, will show a record of the last moments of the dinosaur world. The museum will feature exhibit galleries, full-scale reconstructions of extinct creatures, hands-on learning experiences, live animal attractions, virtual reality, connections to the natural world, and gathering spaces to build a community around the themes of exploration, discovery, and responsible stewardship of our planet.
201 Mullica Hill Road, Glassboro, NJ 08028
Dinosaurs near New Jersey
Museum of Natural History
If you want to see the home of the world’s most extensive collection of dinosaur fossils, take a trip over to New York City. Kids will be in awe of the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs, which displays fossils from one of the two major groups of dinosaurs. Beyond that, check out the first fossil dinosaur specimen collected by Museum researchers, mock-ups of a fossil site in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, and a cast of the fossilized remains of a nesting oviraptorid female, confirming dinosaurs incubated their eggs like modern birds.
200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5102
Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
When you enter the Academy of Natural Sciences, you can’t miss the 42-foot and 7.5-ton Tyrannosaurus rex—this and many other dinosaurs and Mesozoic creatures will greet you in the hall. You can also see dinosaur eggs, footprints, sculptures, murals, paleontologist tools, a life-size model showing the internal anatomy of a Stegosaurus, and a green-screen video studio where kids can project images into a world full of dinosaurs.
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Have you seen dinosaurs in New Jersey? We’d love to hear about it!
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