We love the big, animatronic dinosaurs at Field Station: Dinosaurs, but if you’re looking for something a little more off-the-beaten-path (and FREE!), there’s an easy dino hike in the midst of Allaire State Park in Wall Township that will take you to some cool dinosaur sculptures.
According to Exploring Allaire, these dinosaur sculptures appeared in early 2019, when artist Robin R decided to make some huts out of tree branches, and eventually a T-Rex. Now the Tyrannosaurus has been joined by several other dinosaurs, including a Pterodactyl, triceratops and a stegosaurus. We went a few weeks ago, and it was pretty magical to walk through the forest and find such a prehistoric surprise.
Parking is found along the Squankum-Allenwood Rd. (in Allenwood, according to GPS), by the main entrance to the group campground. It can get pretty crowded on weekends, so make sure to plan accordingly and know you might have to walk a little extra distance. Once you’ve parked, head through the gate to the group campground. This easy path is dirt and simple terrain. We saw many three-wheeled strollers managing quite nicely. If you go on a busy day, you don’t need to worry about getting lost in the woods, but Exploring Allaire has a map you can print out if you are worried. However, the entire trail is a big loop, so even if you end up by the group campground, just keep walking and you’ll end up passing the dinos, they’ll just be off to your right and not your left.
To get there: Head right at the first fork in the road. You’ll go through a second gate and hit another fork, then you’ll keep right again. You’ll start seeing wooden hut-like structures on the right along the stream. That’s when you should start keeping an eye out for the dinosaurs. They are tucked in the woods to the left. The path to them is not clearly identified, but you should be able to spot some unusual artistic wooden structures that will lead you to the dinos.
Remind the kids that these are art, and wooden structures that aren’t meant for climbing on. These impressive creations are a free visit and a great excuse to get out and enjoy the fresh air. The hike is appropriate for all ages, round-trip it is maybe a mile, but you can extend the walk by continuing on the path to the group campground before you loop back if you want to see more of the pretty wooded area.
Afterwards, check out the Historic Village at Allaire. Their nature center is a great spot to see birds and fish, and their historical buildings have activities regularly, like blacksmithing and more. Or check out the New Jersey Museum of Transportation (open currently only on the weekends), where you can see some old train equipment and maybe even catch a train ride.