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Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
Southeast US Best Places to Vacation with Dinosaurs and Kids. Brookfiels Zoo Dinosaurs Alive Chicago IllinoisTo add extra value to any family vacation with young children one of the easiest things to do is find a dinosaurs or two. Maybe you can’t recreate Dinotopia but you can enjoy imagining together. 

Here’s the scoop. On any vacation adding a dinosaur encounter can be memorable. From practicing big words and looking at the gigantic skeletons and fossilized bones at Fernbank in Atlanta to dinosaurs in motion at the zoo in New Orleans and amazing techno art dinosaurs on display in Greensboro, dinosaurs remain popular with everyone. WOW! describes animatronic encounters and wooly mammoth bones evoke a “cool”.  I have assembled a short list of the best places in the Southeastern states to create and share your own dinosaur adventure.
 
Georgia: Atlanta, Whisper among the Giants of the Mesozoic. I love this museum for many reasons including their dinosaurs.  Fernbank’s Great Hall is populated with amazing creatures that lived 145-65 million years ago. The exhibition emulates life and death situations of the largest dinosaurs in the world. Visitors will also find pterosaur and dinosaur tracks, remnants from an Auracaria tree, a fossilized crocodile and a turtle shell. All of the fossils on display in Giants of the Mesozoic are cast replicas of the original specimens discovered in Patagonia. The fossilized bones remain in Argentina, where they are considered a national treasure. Bonus points: The centerpiece of Fernbank's Dinosaur Plaza is a family of bronze dinosaurs poised to greet. They are of the hadrosaur species known as Lophorhothon atopus, which once lived in the region that is now Georgia. Wait for it! With the FREE Fernbank Meridian App with customized content, bonus feature, trivia, collectibles, videos, and animation. (Fernbank Museum of Natural History 767 Clifton Road NE in Atlanta. (404) 929 – 6300 or  www.fernbankmuseum.org

Tennessee: Pigeon Forge, Cruise amongst dinosaurs.
Bordering on the quirky, the Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride offers a variety of special effects and more than a few thrills. It is a mini Time travel adventure in which imaginations run wild as passengers board boats and float along winding waterway through a Jurassic jungle populated with dinosaurs and dotted with ancient caves, waterfalls and geysers. Passengers encounter oodles of prehistoric creatures and can imagine what if? (2806 Parkway Pigeon Forge, TN 27863. (865) 908-7599 or Jurassic Jungle Boat RidesBone Lick State Park Kentucky

Kentucky: Union, Join paleo-tech activities. Big Bone Lick State Park was once a salty, stinky swamp where prehistoric mammals including giant mastodons, wooly mammoths, and ground sloths met their death. Today the fossilized remains are on display in the museum.  There are hiking trails around the lake leading through grasslands, woods and wooded savannas. Look for the bog diorama, outdoor discovery area, and salt-sulphur spring. Bonus points: Always a thrill, checkout the bison herd with their new babies.  Wait for it! If you have an interest in learning about primitive survival techniques make plans to join the park naturalist for an afternoon of prehistoric of demonstrations, discussions and projects. (3380 Beaver Road, Union, KY 41091. Union, KY. (859) 384-3522 or Big Bone Lick State Park Audoban Zoo Dinosaurs Live New orleans

Louisiana: New Orleans, Walk pathways to the past. The Audubon Nature Institute’s new Dinosaur Adventure at the zoo encourages visitors to experience a mini time travel adventure complete with giant replicas of moving, roaring dinosaurs in environments that resemble their natural habitats millions of years ago. Kids can measure fossils and participate in a paleo discovery dusting sand to uncover a fossil bed. (6500 Magazine St. New Orleans, LA 70118. Toll-free 800-774-7394, (504) 861-2537 or www.auduboninstitute.org)

North Carolina: Greensboro, See “Dinosaurs in Motion”. The Natural Science Museum features a marvelous Dinosaur Gallery as well as a room full of fossil exhibits. The world's first fossilized dinosaur heart is on display. Fossil Lab allows visitors to the museum to interact with the paleontologists as they work on restoring skeletons. The Paleontology lab focuses on collecting and studying fossils from the Triassic Period otherwise known as the “dawn of the dinosaurs”. Wait for it! The Natural Science Museum always offers exciting things for families and the latest example is the world premiere of “Dinosaurs in Motion” – a cutting edges collection of 14 awesome, life-size, colorful dinosaur sculptures that visitors can manipulate with lever-and-pulley systems.  Innovation Stations within the exhibit test creativity with hands-on activities that include creating sculptures out of recycled material scraps. (11 W. Jones St, Raleigh, NC 27601. Greensboro, NC. (919) 733-7450 or www.naturalsciences.org)

Researched and compiled by Nancy Nelson-Duac, FTF Editor. Images courtesy Fernbank Museum, and Big Bone Lick State Park. Updated copyright 2014.

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