Dino-Sue

If you have a dinosaur fan in your group, you’ve got to check out DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Make your way to the DINOSAUR attraction and spend a few minutes in the queue area to see a replica of a pretty famous dino.

Dino-Sue is a replica of the most complete fossil skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex ever found. The skeleton at Animal Kingdom is finely detailed and measures the same 40 feet long as the real thing. You can read information posted nearby about how the original T-Rex skeleton was found and named Sue, after the fossil hunter who found it. You can learn where Sue was found and where she is now.

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Standing next to Dino-Sue is truly amazing. The outside queue area for DINOSAUR isn’t really used any more, so you could miss Dino-Sue if you aren’t looking for her. And be on the lookout for even more hidden dinosaurs throughout the queue.

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Cretaceous Trail

There’s a spot in DinoLand U.S.A. that’s a bit off the beaten path and is home to some hidden treasures. It’s even more elusive to many guests because it’s not actually on the guide maps. But between Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama and the DINOSAUR attraction is a little area called the Cretaceous Trail. There are two entrances, but a plaque explaining the trail is posted on the Dino-Rama side.

Cretaceous4It’s a short walking trail, but as you wind your way through you’ll see Cretaceous era plant life and may even spot (and hear) a few dinosaurs. Unfortunately, the trail doesn’t include any other signage, but you can certainly get a feeling for what the Cretaceous era might have looked, sounded, and felt like.

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The trail is also now home to a character greeting location with Donald Duck. That section is usually bustling with activity, but there is some fun dino info posted and a duck-billed dinosaur to pose with alongside Donald.

You might find the Cretaceous Trail to be a good family or class spot to sit, close your eyes, and use your imaginations a bit.

 

FL Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.K.L.14.3, SC.K.N.1.2, SC.K.N.1.5, SC.1.L.14.1, SC.1.L.14.2, SC.3.N.1.6

T-REX Dino-Store

Downtown Disney is a great place for shopping and dining with the whole family. But you may not know there are some hidden learning opportunities here, too!

If there are dinosaur enthusiasts in your group, you may want to check out T-REX. This restaurant and gift shop is owned by the same parent company as Rainforest Café. You’ll probably notice similarities in the menu and the immersive quality of the theming. Dinosaurs spring to life periodically, a giant aquarium houses tons of fish, and the “sky” glows with stars and meteors.

But for an educational experience, head to the Dino-Store. A section called the Paleo-Zone features touchscreens (at convenient kid heights) with interactive games and trivia that teach about fossils and different species of dinosaurs. It can be very hard to hear the audio at these screens, especially when the store and restaurant are busy. But there is on-screen text that will help out for older kids who are reading.

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The store also sells geodes that can be split open right there, revealing colorful crystals. And you can find a giant geode built right into the wall near the entrance to the store. You can also purchase bags of sand to take outside to the working sluice and pan for gems or minerals. Books and educational toys round out the learning offerings at the Dino-Store. It’s a fun stop for dinosaur lovers and those interested in geology or earth science.

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FL Sunshine State Science Standards:
SC.1.E.6.1, SC.1.E.6.3, SC.2.E.6.1, SC.4.E.6.1, SC.4.E.6.2, SC.5.E.5.3, SC.7.L.15.1