When planning your summer camp at home field trips, it can be fun to look beyond the typical educational and historical attractions and seek out some of the more “quirky” places that kids love. I learned about one such “quirky” attraction while leafing through one of those glossy brochures published by a state's Department of Tourism that sometimes come with the local newspaper in late spring…. this one was from the state of Connecticut. The Dinosaur Place is located in Oakdale, CT and features both indoor and outdoor activities (priced separately). Indoor adventures focus on mining for gems, digging for dinosaur fossils, breaking open geodes, and beading crafts- but since this is summertime, I had my eye on the outdoor activities!
The Dinosaur Place has a beautiful set of trails that surround a 7 acre lake (which features its own regularly erupting volcano), and tucked into the edges of the woods along the trail are huge dinosaur replicas! The trails also houses plenty of interactive touch and learning stations along the way that allow kids to reach in and compare textures and sizes of dinosaur eggs, teeth, bones, and more. Posted signs allow kids to read up on interesting facts about the dinos they are viewing.
Of course what is most fun for the kids is to be able to walk up to the replicas and get a sense of how large these creatures were in their day and how strange-looking some of them were…. and how similar they are to some of modern-day animals too. Even kids who are not dinosaur-obsessed will find this part of the park fun and interesting.
The Dinosaur Place has one of those cool super-sized mazes that kids can explore- and parents can watch them from the viewing platform above (and perhaps offer hints about which way to turn!). Exit from the maze is through the giant T-Rex head!
Another fun thing to do here is to play on the Splashpad- which is kind of like playing in a giant (and super cool) lawn sprinkler.
But one of our favorite parts of The Dinosaur Place was their fantastic kids playground… a really uniquely designed set of climbing structures- including this spider web:
And this slide made up of rollers (the kind used to move boxes along a shipping line)…
We had a great time here…. sometimes it is the silly and quirky attraction that leaves you with the best summer memories!
If you enjoyed this idea for a field trip for your summer camp at home… here are a few more ideas:
- Family camping!
- Visit an outdoor sculpture garden
- Check out a science center
- Plan a trip to a zoo or aquarium
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