12 World’s Best Dinosaur Museums

Sunday, May 7, 2017

American Museum of Natural History - The Best?

While real-life scientists have yet to resurrect the terrible lizards from mosquito DNA, they have recently discovered remnants of what look like red blood cells and soft tissue in the fossils of a 75-million-year-old dinosaur.

But they say it’ll be a long time before a “Jurassic Park”-style theme park is feasible. (As if anyone who’s seen any of the films would want to visit one anyway.)

Fortunately there are already plenty of museums worldwide that (safely) bring humans face to face with dinosaurs — and not always just their skeletons.

1. Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin)

The Dinosaur Hall seen from the entrance, with the skeleton of Giraffatitan (formerly Brachiosaurus) brancai in the center. Photo by Axel Mauruszat

Berlin’s natural history museum houses a serious collection of bones excavated largely from Tanzania in the 20th century, featuring all sorts of species.

Most impressive is the 41-foot, 5-inch Brachiosaurus, the tallest dinosaur in the world on display. It’s a Guinness World Record holder and dominates the first gallery.

The museum also has the most important Archaeopteryx fossil in the world, demonstrating the birdlike link between dinosaurs and birds.

Museum fur Naturkunde, Invalidenstrasse 43 Leibniz-Institut Fur Evolutions- Und Biodiversitatsforschung, 10115 Berlin Germany; +49 (0)30 2093 8591

2. Field Museum (Chicago)

The world’s biggest version of the world’s most famous dinosaur: ‘Sue’, the T.rex

The museum’s Evolving Planet exhibit, dedicated to the last 4 billion years of evolution, features dinosaurs from as far away as Madagascar and Antarctica.

The main attraction stands at the entrance. Meet Sue, the largest Tyrannosaurus in the world, who greets visitors at Chicago’s natural history museum.

She’s a terrific specimen — the original skull, weighing 600 pounds and flashing 58 teeth, is on display in the museum’s balcony level along with information on the most notorious of dinosaurs.

It’s easy to imagine the enormous tooth-filled snout crashing through the sunroof of a “Jurassic Park” jeep.

The Field Museum, 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605-2496; +1 312 922 9410

3. Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Science (Brussels)

Mounted Iguanadon skeletons at the Dinosaur hall. Photo by Paul Hermans

With the largest dinosaur hall in the world, this museum has an impressive collection of fossilized skeletons and casts.

The standouts are 30 Iguanodons, the second dinosaur to be classified in the 1800s.

They’re the ones with the curious spike that early paleontologists mistook for a horn on their nose.

Interactive displays in the gallery also detail the fossilization process and dinosaur digs, among other topics.

Museum of Natural Sciences, Rue Vautier 29, Brussels 1000 Belgium; +32 (0)2 627 4211

4. National Dinosaur Museum (Canberra, Australia)

Exhibit – Archaeopteryx Diorama. Photo by NationalDinosaurMuseum

This is the place to explore prehistory in Australia.

The place has the country’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils.

Alongside fossils, bones and impressive footprints from all sorts of animals and beasts, the museum features a garden with imposing dinosaur sculptures and animatronics inside that add a bit of Spielberg magic to displays.

Fossil digs, children’s learning events and weekend tours help attract 200,000 people a year, making it one of the area’s biggest tourist attractions.

National Dinosaur Museum, Cnr Gold Creek Road and Barton Highway Nicholls, 2913 Australia; +(02) 6230 2655

5. Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology (Alberta, Canada)

Inside the largest display area. Photo by Steven Mackaay

More than 130,000 fossils call this paleontological research center home, including the original “Black BeautyTyrannosaurus skeleton with its unique dark sheen.

A recreation of a pack of Albertosaurus, inspired by a bone bed of 22 specimens found in Alberta, pays homage to Joseph Tyrrell, who discovered the carnivore in 1884.

The museum also displays sabertooth tigers attacking a mammoth as well as a living garden that recreates life during the Cretaceous period in Alberta.

Visitors can watch paleontologists at work in the preparation lab to see how they prepare fossilized bones, like those of an Ankylosaur found in a Canadian mine.

Royal Tyrrell Museum, Midland Provincial Park P.O. Box 7500, Drumheller, Alberta T0J 0Y0 Canada;

6. Wyoming Dinosaur Center (Wyoming)

Wyoming Dinosaur Center entrance

This museum’s standout attraction is a 106-foot Supersaurus.

The museum has acquired the most complete archaeopteryx in the world (after the one in Berlin) and boasts skeletons of Triceratops, Stegosaurus and Velociraptor, among others in all sorts of dynamic poses.

The real draw is getting to talk with real paleontologists, like those who inspired Alan Grant’s character in “Jurassic Park.”

All ages are invited to “dig for a day” by signing up to participate in excursions to one of the world’s richest bone fields, just down the street.

Wyoming Dinosaur Museum, 110 Carter Ranch Road, Thermopolis, WY 82443; +1 307 854 2997

7. Zigong Dinosaur Museum (Zigong, China)

One of the excavation pits of the Zigong Dinosaur Museum. Photo by Phreakster 1998

Another vast space given to prehistoric fossils, the Dinosaur Museum in Zigong sits atop the Dashanpu fossil site, allowing visitors to get a firsthand glimpse of an excavation site.

This top Chinese attraction has 18 complete skeletons among the 200 individuals pulled from the graveyard, and they’re displayed among foot prints, skin fossils and other prehistoric finds.

Specimens are renowned in the dinosaur community and attract nearly 7 million people a year in China.

Zigong Dinosaur Museum, Dashanpu Town, Da’an District, Zigong 643013 China; +86 813 580 1236

8. Iziko Museum (Cape Town, South Africa)

Mounted skeletons of the spinosaur theropod Suchomimus and the juvenile sauropod dinosaur Jobaria

South Africa doesn’t conjure images of T. rex and Brachiosaurus, but the Izikio Museum does feature some of the prehistoric beasts from its Karoo region.

In addition to dozens of other exhibits, the prehistoric section deals with lesser known dinosaurs and their cousins that inhabited the continent from Cape Town to Marrakech.

The “African Dinosaurs” exhibit features the Euparkeria, a distant relative of the dinosaurs, native to South Africa; as well as the Jobaria, a sauropod from Africa.

The Carcharodontosaurus skull from North Africa is part of a creature that trumped the mighty T. rex in size and stature, making it one of Africa’s most imposing killers.

Iziko South African Museum and Planetarium, Between Government Avenue and Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town Central South Africa; +27 (0)21 481 3800

9.  Jurassic Land (Istanbul)

Jurassic Land: The detailed story of the dinosaur age is told with examples.

Opened in 2011, Jurassic Land is as close as you’ll get to fleeing dinosaurs alongside Sam Neil and Laura Dern.

One part education, another part entertainment, the 10,000-square-meter experience mixes skeletons and fossils with writhing animatronic dinosaurs in an Ingen-esque setting, including a “veterinarian” taking care of an injured Stegosaurus and egg incubators.

While Spielberg may not have given his blessing, the center does offer a creative and engaging educational experience for children, though connoisseurs may question the seemingly anachronistic placing of a Spinosaurus next to a Triceratops.

Jurassic Land, Kocatepe Mah. Sehir Parki Cad. 12. Sok. Bayrampaşa Forum İstanbul Kat : 2, Istanbul 34045 Turkey; +90 212 640 8088

10. Fernbank Museum of Natural History (Atlanta)

Inside Fernbank. Photo by James Emery

The true giants of the prehistoric world may have been unearthed in Patagonia, but you have to go to Atlanta to see them on display.

The Giants of the Mesozoic exhibit features the carnivorous Gigantosaurus, which rivaled the T. rex in size, as well as the Argentinosaurus, the 100-ton sauropod that scientists say is the largest dinosaur ever classified.

A flock of more than 20 pterosaurs glides overhead. The museum also offers a glimpse into prehistoric Georgia, with murals and life-sized dinosaur models.

Fernbank Museum of Natural History, 767 Clifton Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30307; +1 404 929 6300

11. American Museum of Natural History (New York)

American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History, located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City, is one of the largest museums in the world. 

Did you know: Dark Universe was developed by the American Museum of Natural History, New York (www.amnh.org), in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, and GOTO INC, Tokyo, Japan.

Address: Central Park West & 79th St, New York, NY 10024, USA

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