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Southwest US Best Places to Vacation with Dinosaurs and Kids. Dinosaurs in New MexicoFrom still active fossil dig sites to cool hallways in which immense dinosaur skeletons loom, investigating the mystery of the dinosaurs is a marvelous way to share time and have fun young companions.
Here’s the scoop. Our list of the best places to vacation with dinosaurs suggests places Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. It includes museums, places and destinations in the Southwest Us where you will find replicas of dinosaurs, dinosaur skeletons, interactive digs, and engaging activities related to prehistoric times. From discovering fossils in Arizona’s Petrified Forrest to a giant, record-holding Pentaceratops at Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, the possibilities for unique learning experiences are endless. View more places to see dinosaurs in North Texas  the best dinosaur locations in Texas. 

Arizona: Holbrook, Petrified Forest National Park – Tiptoe over ageless rock forms.
The expansive skyline of the Petrified Forest is desolate, wild looking and populated with fossils from the Late Triassic period (more than 200 million years ago) also known as the "Dawn of the Dinosaurs." On display within the park are a variety of dinosaur skeletons much older than T. rex. Look for the skeleton of Triassic phytosaurs – an early relative of the modern day crocodile and view specimens which prove Northern Arizona was once under the sea. Petrified Forest National Park Activity BoxThe Rainbow Forest Museum features exhibits of petrified wood, fossils, and displays of prehistoric animals. Park rangers conduct daily talks and short walks from this location. The Painted Desert Visitor Center is the best place for park information, books, exhibits, and restrooms. A free orientation film about the park is shown every half hour. Bonus Points: The Petrified Forest Junior Ranger program is an ideal way to engage kids and empower them to learn without nagging.  Wait for it! For parents or grandparents traveling with young rock hounds this is the place to purchase a special rock for “Show-and-Tell” at school next year. The choices are many and excellent. (Petrified Forest National Park 1 Petrified Forest Rd, Holbrook, AZ 86502. (928) 524-6228 or Petrified Forest National Park)

New Mexico: Albuquerque, Museum of Natural History - Explore “Dawn of the Dinosaurs.” The only permanent Triassic period (251 million to 202 million years ago) hall in North America is at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and it focuses on the beginning of the dinosaur story. Investigate a series of eight exhibits dubbed “time tracks” featuring the evolution of the dinosaurs. See complete skeletons of Coelophysis - one of the smallest carnivorous dinosaurs, a 12-foot long predatory erythrosuchian, a Stegosaurus, a Camarasaurus, and a crocodile-like phytosaurs. Interactive activities facilitate fun and learning. No one will be bored. Dawn of the Dinosaurs museum of Natural history & Science Albuquerque, NMBonus Points: The museum offers podcasts for smartphones and oodles of computer terminals with interactive displays. Here’s the deal! On the first Sunday of every month, the museum offers free admission to residents of New Mexico. In addition, on the first Sunday of every month, a free guided tour of the museum is offered. (1801 Mountain Road NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87104. (505) 841-2800 or
New Mexico: Albuquerque, Ruth Hall Museum of Paleontology- Make discoveries at Ghost Ranch. Visit the Ghost Ranch Museum and watch fossil scientist practicing the art of research and discovery. Roam through the museum exhibits and view life-sized replicas of dinosaurs found on the Ranch. Two little dinosaurs, Coelophysis and Tawa Hallae, both discovered onsite tell the story of that began 220 million years ago. Hike to the quarry site; dig for dinosaur bones and make a plaster cast of a bone casting – perfect for kids. Bonus Points: Each Thursday from April to the end of October paleontology tours of the ranch are offered. (Ghost Ranch Abiquiu, NM 87510. Albuquerque. Toll-free 1-877-804-4678, (505) 685-4333 or Ruth Hall Museum of Paleontology at Ghost Ranch)
Oklahoma: Norman, Oklahoma Museum of Natural History – See “Clash of the Titans". This is the place to enjoy the whole story of dinosaurs and the rise of mammals explained in an engaging way which encourages learning. Ride in the museum's glass "dinovators" and get the chance to see the resident Apatosaurus eye-to-eye. Other cool things include a rare horned rodent, Epigaulus hatcheri and skeleton of a baby Apatosaurus. "The Clash of the Titans" exhibit is the visual focus in the Hall of Ancient Life. It features two Jurassic giants - world's largest Apatosaurus and Saurophaganax maximus - a fearsome predator unique to Oklahoma. The Cretaceous exhibits include a Tenontosaurus, two Deinonychus and an impressive fully-articulated skeleton of Pentaceratops whose ten-and-a-half-foot skull is a Guinness World Record holder.  Bonus Points: A discovery room created for young children offers hands-on, self-paced educational experiences related to the main themes of the museum's exhibits. Here’s the deal! Enjoy complimentary admission to the museum every first Monday of each month. (2401 Chautauqau Avenue, Norman, OK 73072. Norman.  (405) 325-4712 or

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Researched and posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, FTF Editor. Images courtesy Petrified Forest National Park and New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. Copyright 2013.