Children have always been drawn to the mystique of dinosaurs, but with the new “Jurassic World: Dominion” overtaking movie screens, adults, too, are reliving their fascination with these giant, extinct beasts.
Although not quite Isla Nublar, Leonia will be home to more than 30 larger-than-life-sized dinosaurs – albeit animatronic dinosaurs – through the end of October at Field Station: Dinosaurs, an outdoor family attraction that is sure to impress all the paleontologists in your group.
The dinosaurs on display are animatronics, aka robots computer programmed to move in a realistic way. They were designed by artists to have lifelike features.
Field Station even has paleontologists on staff who worked at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton who help bring these dinosaurs to life.
Visitors walk stroller-friendly trails reminiscent of local zoos, but instead of live animals behind a rope fence, there are life-sized dinosaur attractions, including herbivores like the Stegosaurus, local dinos like the Hadrosaurus foulkii and crowd favorites like the iconic T. Rex.
Visitors will 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. As soon as you enter the park, grab a schedule of events and check out the times for each activity.
Here are a few your explorers might enjoy:
There is a new Jurassic Jump attraction this year. Harnessed riders can jump to heights of 5-25 feet while centered on a trampoline. When bouncing on the trampoline the mechanical bungee relay system helps jumpers reach the level where they could look dinosaurs in they eye! Note: there is an additional $10 fee.
Scout Days are June 25 and Oct. 8. Meet the experts in topics ranging from camping to lizards to paleontology. Try hands-on activities that are applicable to Brownie and Girl Scout badges, Cub Scout belt loops and Boy Scout merit badges. All scouts in uniform will earn a commemorative Field Station patch! Scout groups of 20 or more save when booking in advance.
Meet Dino Dom Lessem, author, explorer, and scientific adviser to “Jurassic Park” and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, on July 9. Learn how dinosaurs are portrayed in the movies and touch fossils and movie props. Don’t miss Dino Don’s presentations that are filled with audience participation and plenty of entertaining science.
Children will be dazzled and entertained as they interact with Mad Scientists! Foggy dry ice storms, meteor drops, and even a special Mad Science volcanic eruption are planned for July 30. Join in this awesome show with a prehistoric twist.
Examine fossils of native New Jersey residents from 12,000 to over 1 billion years ago with Marc Rogoff, environmental education specialist from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. A hands-on activity will allow participants to identify (and keep) the fossils they find during this special event on Aug. 6.
Paleontologist and Executive Director of Elevation Science for Natural History Exploration, Jason Schein, will share discoveries from recent paleo-digs on Sept. 17. Bring your dinosaur questions and find out what it takes to go on fossil digs.
Dinosaurs: After Dark
A spooky, funny and thrilling adventure for the whole family will be Dinosaurs: After Dark, featuring a lantern lit tour of the park on Friday and Saturday evenings, Oct. 1 – 29. But watch out! The trails are dark and there’s a hungry T-Rex lurking in the shadows. A fearless Dinosaur Wrangler will lead a Tyrannosaurus Hunt along the Field Station’s darkened trails with a stop at every dinosaur and a few surprises along the way.
At the end of the night, everyone will gather around the campfire for a dinosaur sing-a-long, roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate.
Reservations online are encouraged, attendance is limited.
Note that the Jurassic Jump attraction is not available during Dinosaurs After Dark.
When It Rains
Even though the Field Station is an outdoor attraction, there’s plenty to do during a downpour, too, like exploring one of 40 live shows, dinosaur games and activities in one of the park’s tented pavilions.
The park’s concession stand offers many options. There are also designated picnic tables, so feel free to come in the morning and stay through the afternoon, fueling up in between.
Through June 26: Saturdays and Sundays, 10am – 6 pm
June 28 – Sept. 4: Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 am – 6 pm
Sept. 10 – Nov. 13, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am – 5 pm
Also open Thursday, Nov. 10, and Friday, Nov. 11, from 10 am – 5 pm
Dinosaurs: After Dark, Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 1 – 29, 7-9:30 pm
The park is closed on July 4, but is open on Labor Day Sept. 5, and is open on Indigenous Peoples’ Day/Columbus Day on Oct. 10.
Admission tickets range from $17.75 to $28.75. Children under 2 are free. There are additional fees for the online Paleontologists Library and the Jurassic Jump.
An adult season pass is available for $60.
Gift cards are available.
Field Station: Dinosaurs is an official Education Partner of Bergen County. A portion of every ticket sold is used for the preservation and enhancement of Bergen County Parks.
Field Station: Dinosaurs is located in Overpeck County Park at 40 Fort Lee Rd. in Leonia. For more information, call 855-999-9010.