Last weekend the family and I were invited to a blogger day at Field Station: Dinosaurs in Secaucus, NJ. It’s one of those things I’ve heard about and thought, yes, one day let’s get a car and go do that dinosaur thing in New Jersey, so I was glad to get the invitation as a nice fire lit under us to go.
[PS – Keep reading and see how you can get free passes!]
Field Station: Dinosaurs is very much like going to a zoo, only the live animals have been replaced with animatronic dinosaurs. They’re nestled in cool ways into the rocks and foliage of the park, giving you a less-terrifying Jurassic Park sensation. The animatronics are really well done. I was captivated watching the giant stomach of the Apatosaurus as it breathed, and Ozzie started shouting every time it’s tail hit the trees. More than any museum exhibit, these dinosaurs really give you a sense of the scale. I thought about how the kids and I could fit inside the legs of the Argentinosaurus, and how we could, if necessary, run through the legs of the T. Rex.
Some of the backgrounds were beautiful, too, with the natural rock formations of the park forming a prehistoric landscape. Of course, there’s also the distopian view of the @Jerseysaurus who appears to have climbed up after trampling Manhattan in the background.
In addition to the dinosaurs, there are live shows featuring the vocal stylings of the Dinosaur Troubadour (I’ll be singing “The Mighty T. Rex” forever), game shows where kids try to decide if they’re looking at pictures of paleontologists or New Jersey governors (I’m not proud of the Chris Christie jokes we may or may not have made), a chance to pet the baby Hadrosaurus, and some incredible puppetry of a T. Rex. We loved that part especially.
Of course, ask the kids what their favorite part was and they’ll tell you “DIGGING!” You can grab shovels and brushes to play in a fossil-filled sandbox. I would have loved for them to be able to discover some actual tiny fossils to bring home, but the same giant plastic bones get dug up by the kids and recovered with sand by the park workers. (We were in the sandbox a long, long time.)
You can make it through everything in about two hours, which make the prices seem a little high. Tickets start at $20 for adults, and $17.50 for kids 3-12. If you’ve got any dinosaur fanatics in your house, though, it’s totally worth it. At 4, Ozzie’s just the right age for it and he loved it. At 9, Olive still had a great time, too. It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re carless like us, it’s walkable from NJ Transit. If you have a car (or a Zipcar), it’s super easy to get to off the turnpike.
And here’s the giveaway! I’m giving away a Family Four Pack of day passes, good for any day of your choosing this season. There are two ways to enter, and you can enter both ways (I’ll take up to two entries per person):
1) Leave a comment on this post (they’re moderated, so don’t fret if your comment doesn’t show up right away.)
2) Give my Facebook page a Like and leave a message there that you’d like to hang with the dinosaurs in New Jersey.
The giveaway will end next Friday at 8:00 Eastern, and I’ll pick a winner at random.
UPDATE: Congrats to Jamie Green, you are the winner of the Family Four Pack!