Recently, while on vacation, the Daves visited many dinosaur places and had a blast doing it. Being on vacation though you sometimes take for granted what may be in your own back yard. It may be ok to travel thousands of miles on vacation to a particular place but oftentimes you neglect driving just an hour to a similar place in your very own or neighboring state. This was the case with THE DINOSAUR PLACE in Montville, CT.
Just recently a friend and I were trying to figure out something to do on one of our Sunday fun days. Two weeks prior I had passed THE DINOSAUR PLACE on my drive back from ConnectiCon (see coverage HERE) and since she was a dinosaur fan like me, thought it would be a fun day trip. So we loaded up on Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee and strawberry-frosted donuts to drive an hour in 95+ degree temperatures. We really had no idea what to expect and thankfully, despite the sweltering heat, the place was worth the money and the trip!
THE DINOSAUR PLACE, at Nature’s Art Village, sits on 60 acres and features over 40 life size dinosaurs displayed in natural settings. The signage is great and not too over-the-top for young paleontologists. Thankfully for us that day a lot of the pathway is under tree cover so that the sun wasn’t directly on us at all times. The natural ferns growing everywhere really added to the realism of the displays and really helped with the illusion that you had stepped back in time.
Though we didn’t take advantage of it, there is also a huge splash pad that kids of all ages could enjoy. With the heat we were experiencing we really wish we had brought our bathing suits. Also for the kids is a playground and a maze. This place was put together really well and can be enjoyed by everyone. My only real complaint was that some of the dinosaurs were in need of some touch up paint work. THE DINOSAUR PLACE is open year round so these displays are exposed to not only our hot summers but our brutal winters as well.
On our way out we witnessed their erupting volcano in action. A mix of audio and visual effects brought it to life as the ground would rumble while the volcano would smoke, ending with water shooting into the air. From there we visited the gift shop, which really didn’t offer anything exciting. This was unfortunate because I love gift shops. Thankfully we only had to go next door to fill my gift shop appetite.
While leaving we noticed that there were a series of shops on the property so decided to visit. It was here that we found THE ANCIENT FOSSIL SHOP. We ended up spending almost as much time in here looking over the treasures as we did on the dinosaur trail. In addition to an assortment of full size dinosaur skeletons, there was a nice selection of fossils, rocks and minerals. Of course I had to pick up a few fossils to remember my visit by!
If you’re slow to decide what you want for lunch you just may become lunch!
Other shops featured in the plaza are an artistic jewelry shop, a bead shop, an ageless toy shop, an A to Z mineral shop and an artful gift shop. You can definitely spend the better part of a day here and even get something to eat at the café or enjoy a root beer float at the ice cream shop.