While we anticipate the release of the new Jurassic World sequel, there are plenty of places that have real life (or at least, previously alive) dinosaur fossils. In fact, you may have a museum closer than you think.
Although dinos roamed just about anywhere and everywhere, some regions simply had more species than others. And, fast forward to 2018, specific museums have obtained breathtaking bones and set up some of the best exhibits in the country.
Below are some of the best museums to visit when you’re hunting dinosaurs.
Natural History Museum of Utah
The Natural History Museum of Utah has numerous exhibits, covering everything from early human life in the area, plants, animals, and dinosaurs, just to name a few. The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Gallery in the Past Worlds exhibit has the bones you are hunting.
In addition to ancient minerals and plants and interactive exhibits, guests can find natural fossil and recreations of dinosaurs. In fact, one of the displays is the mighty duck-looking Gyrposaurus and the world’s most extensive collection of horned dino skulls.
Utah is still discovering new dinosaurs as well, making them among the top places to visit for a dinosaur-centric trip. Some of the most recent discoveries are the Cosmocertatops, and the aptly-named Utahceratops.
You may even be lucky enough to see how the experts prepare exhibits. Finally, there is a dedicated Triassic plant exhibit, showing you what the friendlier dinosaurs would have eaten that hopefully wouldn’t include yourself.
Wyoming Dinosaur Center
Like Utah, Wyoming has long been a hotspot for finding fossils. As a result, the Wyoming Dinosaur Center is among the best places to see dinos on display.
The exciting thing about this particular museum is that there are approximately 80 dig sites spread across the 500-some-odd acres that the center sits on top. In fact, if you participate in the Dig for a Day, a program that allows you to join in with the paleontologists, you may just discover a fossil yourself!
If digging around in Wyoming isn’t your idea of fun, the museum is 12,000 square feet of dinosaur exhibits with more than 30 life-sized skeletons.
Included in the extensive displays is the Thermopolis Specimen, initially found in Bavaria in 2005 and the best of 12 known examples of this animal. Many believe it to be the “missing link” connecting the terrible lizards to birds, which are considered to be direct descendants.
La Brea Tar Pits & Museum
Chances are, even if you haven’t been to the La Brea Tar Pits, you’ve seen them in movies and TV shows. These tar pits are iconic for bringing a piece of the prehistoric to busy L.A.
However, as rad as it is to tour the pits outside, the museum’s interior has the bones. They advertise housing more than a million fossils of over 650 different species.
A trip to this museum means seeing the skeletons of a woolly mammoth, a sabretooth tiger, a dire wolf, and other creatures. There are also other education exhibits and a museum movie theater as well.
American Museum of Natural History
Located in New York City, the American Museum of Natural History is a big deal in its own right. And I don’t mean because it’s the setting for Night at the Museum. The museum is one of the best-known galleries in the city, and with good reason.
Among their many historical exhibits are the Dinosaurs Among Us area. Of the centerpieces, one of the first virtually restored T-rex skeletons found is on display. You can also see fossilized dinosaur eggs and many other fossils both large and small.
For being a singular exhibit among many others, it’s impressive that they have over 100 fossils on display. You can find a mummified dinosaur resembling a duck, a more recent discovery, still with some fossilized flesh!
From mighty predators like the velociraptor and towering plant eaters like Apatosaurus, there is much to see. Dinosaurs Among Us is sure to delight fossil fans.
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
You can always count on the Smithsonian to have something exciting to show off. Among the Washington, D.C. museums are the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and yes, they do have dino bones!
In fact, they have amassed a collection of over 46 million fossils, which is difficult to display all at once. Inside of Fossils: The History of Life is a T-Rex, a triceratops, a Pteranodon, and many others.
Unfortunately, you can’t see the main dinosaur exhibit until it reopens in 2019. But, the museum has moved a dinosaur exhibit, the Last American Dinosaurs, to the second floor.
While you won’t find John McCain or Bernie Sanders, you will find plenty to satiate your thirst for fossils. When you’re looking for dinos in D.C., the Smithsonian has what you need.