Jurassic NJ: Field Station: Dinosaurs
Field Station: Dinosaurs an outdoor family attraction in Secaucus, NJ that features 31 life-sized, lifelike dinos.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a…pterodactyl? In Secaucus?
That’s right. The place you know primarily as a train stop on the way to NYC is now the home to Field Station: Dinosaurs, a new outdoor family attraction that features 31 life-sized, lifelike dinos.
The dinosaurs are animatrons, which are like robots, but they’ve been designed by artists to have genuine-looking features, and they’re computer programmed to move in a more natural, realistic way. Three of them will even be able to respond to sound and focus on a child. They’ve been constructed in partnership with New Jersey State Museum scientists, who ensure that the creatures reflect the latest theories and discoveries in paleontology.
The Field Station is an outdoor exhibit set on 20 wooded acres and against the backdrop of a 150-million-year-old rock formation. Visitors walk on set, stroller-friendly trails, much as you would at a typical zoo. On either side, behind a rope fence, are the dinosaurs, including kid favorites like the T. Rex, weird ones like the pachycephalosaurus, and the 90-foot long Argentinosaurus, the largest animatronic dinosaur ever made.
Visitors will also be able to participate in numerous activities, all included with the price of admission.
Interactive workshops, games, and shows are a huge part of the Field Station experience. You’ll get a schedule of events when you arrive. Make sure to check out the times of each activity so you don’t miss anything! Here are a few your little explorer might enjoy:
Raptor Feud, played like the old TV game show Family Feud, is the perfect venue for your child to show off his knowledge of dinosaurs, geology, and archaeology. For those who are not dinosaur-obsessed, the answers can all be found on the premises.
Mesozoic Concentration is a team activity that lets kids be dinosaur hunters as they use a paleontologist’s tools, like giant earthmovers and electron microscopes, to uncover the skeleton of a giant dinosaur.
Avian Dinosaurs takes advantage of the exhibit’s natural surroundings, the New Jersey Meadowlands, which is home to more than 270 species of birds. Participants will go bird watching and learn about the similarities between today’s feathered friends and the dinos of the past.
Found in New Jersey is a great activity for kids who don’t know that their very own state is the birthplace of “Bone Hunting” and the dinosaur craze that still continues. Participants will hear about the Garden State’s official state dinosaur, Haddy the Hadrosaurus, learn about the dig site at Walter Kidde Dinosaur Park (Riker Hill Fossil Site) in Roseland, and see actual fossils from around the state.
The Feeding Frenzy show gives kids a chance to watch a T. Rex enjoy a meal and learn about animal survival (for fourth-graders and up).
The Petting Zoo show is an opportunity for kids to touch some dinosaurs. The four featured dinos are puppets, two of which have a person inside, and two of which are small, handheld baby dinosaurs, to appeal to younger kids.
When it Rains
Even though the Field Station is an outdoor attraction, there’s plenty to do even in a downpour. Families can seek shelter and play dinosaur games in one of the park’s tented pavilions or brave the rain and participate in a fossil-finding scavenger hunt. If you’re up for the rainy day fun, you receive a free Field Station poncho for your troubles.
Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for kids, and free for those 2 and under. You can buy them online or by phone (855-999-9010), or you can take your chances and buy them when you get there.
Location and Phone Number
1 Dinosaur Way, Secaucus; 855-999-9010
There’ll be a concession stand offering grilled fare, and picnic benches on which to eat it. So feel free to come in the morning and stay through the afternoon, fueling up in between.
Parties include a designated host or hostess, birthday cake, optional barbeque lunch, VIP seating at live shows, a photo with a T. Rex for the birthday child, and party favors for guests. Packages start at $39 per child (call 973-748-4317 for details).
The park opens to the public on May 24. You can drive there and park in the on-site lot for an additional $10, or you can take the train (it’s a 10-minute walk from the Secaucus Junction NJ Transit stop, and there will also be shuttle buses) for an extra adventure.
Renée Sagiv Riebling is a freelance writer from central New Jersey. She and her husband and two children are always on the lookout for new adventures.