A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

12 of the World’s Best Dinosaur Museums

These dinosaur museums will take you back to a time when fantastic creatures ruled the planet. Plus, you'll get up-to-date information on our evolving knowledge of these incredible beasts.

1 / 12
Perot Museum

The Paleo Lab at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas

Here’s an opportunity to be the first of your friends to meet Nanuqsaurus, a newly assembled relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex featured at the brand new Paleo Lab at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The Lab opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held August 28, 2018, and features an augmented reality experience that puts you up close with dinosaurs such as Diplodocus, Velociraptor, and T. Rex, as well as hands-on fossil digs and opportunities to watch real paleontologists at work.

2 / 12
Smithsonian Museum
J. Scott Applewhite/AP/Shutterstock

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

When it first opened in 1910, the Dinosaur Hall at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History was called “The Museum of Extinct Monsters.” But it’s a forgivable designation considering the Triceratops and T. Rex who reign over the 5,200 square foot space. Through June of 2019, you can experience The Last American Dinosaurs: Discovering a Lost World, featuring fossils obtained at the Hell Creek Formation in the American West.

3 / 12
Courtesy Lucy Hewitt

The Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois

If you want to get to know a titanosaur on a first-name basis, the Field Museum is the right place. The Field Museum is pleased to introduce you to Maximo, a 122-foot-long titanosaur—the largest dinosaur discovered to date. And he’s literally available for sleepovers: Several times a year, Dozin With Dinos invites kids ages six through 12 to take a nighttime tour of the dinos and then sleep over amid Maximo and all his fossil friends.

4 / 12
American Natural History Museum
Emiliano Rodriguez Mega/AP/Shutterstock

American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York

More up-to-the-minute discoveries await at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where a 122-foot-long dinosaur—discovered in 2014—is on display. It’s one of the largest dinosaurs ever to have been discovered (so far). It’s called, appropriately, the Titanosaur. The AMNH also features sleepovers and, on certain designated nights, grownups are invited to partake in a mature sleepover (drinks are served).

5 / 12
Natural History Museum
Tim Ireland/AP/Shutterstock

Natural History Museum, London

The Natural History Museum of London’s collection of world-famous dinosaur includes an Iguanodon (one of the first species ever described as a dinosaur), a Baryonyx (one of the largest meat-eating dinos to roam Europe), the most complete Stegosaurus fossil ever discovered, as well as an enormous T. Rex. Here, you can explore all the different time periods during which dinosaurs lived and sort through facts (versus myths) about what really killed off these enormous creatures. Here are all the dinosaur myths scientists wish you’d stop believing.

6 / 12
Paris Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum, Paris

This is more than a single museum: It’s a complex of museums with an entire building devoted to its dinosaur collection. You’ll find an Allosaurus fragilis, Diplodocus, a mammoth, the three-horned Triceratops, Basilosaurus, and the biggest crocodile species that ever lived on the planet—Sarcosuchus imperator. A recent special exhibit included the second most complete T. Rex skeleton ever found, which was found in Montana in 2013.

7 / 12
Badlands Dinosaur Museum
WILL KINCAID/AP/Shutterstock

Badlands Dinosaur Museum, Dickenson, North Dakota

Speaking of Montana, this 1,500 pound Triceratops was excavated by a couple in Montana in 1992, who then gifted it to the Dickenson Museum Center, which then made it the star exhibit of what would become the Badlands Dinosaur Museum. The center now has an impressive number of dinosaurs on display, including full skeletons of:

  • Stegosaurus
  • Allosaurus
  • Triceratops
  • Edmontosaurus
  • Albertosaurus
  • Thescelosaurus

Much of the collection comes from the four-state region—Montana, Wyoming, and both Dakotas—which is so rich in paleontology discoveries, the area might as well be known as “Dinosaur Land.”

8 / 12
National Park North Dakota

The North Dakota Dinosaur Tour

If you’re heading to the Badlands, consider taking the whole North Dakota Dinosaur Tour of eight total museums (including the Badlands Dinosaur Museum) that display some of North America’s most fascinating discoveries. For example:

While you’re in the area, don’t miss an opportunity to go on an actual fossil dig. The fossil above is a finding from Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Check out these 15 natural wonders you’ve likely never heard of.

9 / 12
Wyoming Museum
Courtesy Laura Vietti

Wyoming Dinosaur Tour

Wyoming is rich in dinosaur exhibits, as well as fascinating non-animal fossils (pictured is petrified wood at Yellowstone National Forest). Among Wyoming’s top dinosaur destinations:

10 / 12
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Brennan Linsley/AP/Shutterstock

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Colorado

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science with its Prehistoric Journey exhibit features an interactive battle between a gargantuan Stegosaurus and an 80-foot-long Diplodocus. (Pictured is a Diplodocus in a 1940 photo taken at the museum, when it used to be called the Colorado Museum of Natural History.) Don’t miss the nearby Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience, with dinosaur fossils and animatronic displays, interactive displays, and hands-on exhibits.

11 / 12
North Carolina Museum Natural Sciences
KAREN TAM/AP/Shutterstock

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, North Carolina

Could dinosaurs have been warm-blooded? If you want to see how this might have been possible, then head over to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. There, you’ll find the bones of Willo, a 66-million-year-old dinosaur on display. Researchers found Willo’s fossilized four-chamber heart, suggesting she—and perhaps all dinos—may have been warm-blooded. Fun fact: Willo, a pony-sized dino, was discovered by a South Dakota rancher. Here are more facts you’ve always believed that are actually false.

12 / 12
Terrell Museum of Paleontology
FB-Rose / imageBROKER/Shutterstock

Royal Tyrrell Museum, Alberta, Canada

The Royal Tyrrell Museum (also known as the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology) invites you to “come face-to-face with some of Canada’s mightiest dinosaurs.” The museum has thirteen constantly-evolving galleries, including the new Grounds for Discovery exhibit, where you’ll find the world’s best-preserved armored dinosaur, Borealopelta. Don’t miss these weird museums you never knew existed.

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York–based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest and in a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction, and her first full-length manuscript, "The Trust Game," was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.