North Texas was once home to dinosaurs so it should come as no surprise that there are a lot of great dinosaur activities and things to do right on our doorstep.
For example, Allen, Texas, is home to The Dinosaur Company, the only facility in America which builds life-size animatronic dinosaurs and they are open for tours. Meanwhile, just down the road Dinosaurs Live! at the Heard Museum in McKinney features 10 animatronic dinosaurs lurking along a nature trail.
Plus, Glen Rose, The Dinosaur Capital of Texas, is located just 1 hour from Collin County.
10 best dinosaur activities and things to do in Texas
So, whether you're looking for authentic fossil hunting or a more interactive experience, here are the 10+ best dinosaurs activities and things to do in Collin County, North Texas and beyond. All of these fun dinosaur attractions are within a 3-hour drive of Collin County.
Take note that some of the featured dinosaur things to do are seasonal and one is a temporary exhibition.
1. The Dinosaur Company, Allen
The Dinosaur Company in Allen, Texas is such a hidden gem and is the best place to take anyone who loves dinosaurs. The Dinosaur Company, a division of Billings Productions, Inc., located in Allen, Texas, is home to over 400 animatronic creatures. Walking around the warehouse where these creatures are built, stored, and maintained, you can expect to see dinos as large as 40 feet, giant bugs that are bigger than your car, and Primal Predators that make you thankful humans are currently at the top of the food chain.
This incredible facility, the only facility in America which builds life-size animatronic dinosaurs, is also open for public tours and events. Imagine the ultimate dino-themed birthday party, a T-Rex tooth painting class, a Winos & Dinos tour, or even a BYOB after dark tour.
Click here for reservations and details on the latest events happening at The Dinosaur Company
The Dinosaur Company
420 Century Parkway Allen, TX 75013
2. Kids Kingdom, Rowlett
I actually wish there were more local playgrounds featuring dinosaurs. Maybe there are and I've not found them yet.
The good news is that there is one playground close to Collin County which has a dinosaur: Kids Kingdom in Rowlett. We featured Kids Kingdom in our list of best playgrounds in and around Collin County (click here) partly because it's huge, has a robot and a zip line but also because it has a sizeable sandpit featuring a large dinosaur skeleton which your dino-crazed kids can climb on.
Also on our list of best playgrounds in and around Collin County is Bicentennial Park in Southlake which is worth mentioning here since it has a really cool dragon water feature which spouts water from its nose.
3. Jurassic World: The Exhibition, Grandscape, The Colony
Have you ever been to Disney World or Universal Studios? Jurassic World: The Exhibition at Grandscape in The Colony is on par with any of the best rides/attractions at Disney. Seriously, it’s that good. In the promotional materials, Jurassic World: The Exhibition boasts that this is “the closest you’ll ever get to live dinosaurs” and they’re not kidding. These dinosaurs look completely real. The entire experience looks and feels real. The production level is outstanding.
If you’re wondering if it’s really worth the ticket price, it is.
Jurassic World: The Exhibition
Through January 2, 2022
Grandscape at The Colony | jurassicworldexhibition.com
3. Dinosaurs Live! at the Heard Museum, McKinney
This annual exhibit at the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary is a local family favorite and is included in the admission price to the center.
Along a half-mile nature trail you’ll find ten animatronic dinos. These life-size dinosaurs roar and move slowly: they don’t walk around but their heads and tails do move and one even spits! Part of the exhibit are smaller dinosaurs for children to climb on and which are great for cute family photos.
Other attractions at the Heard Museum include Pioneer Village, playhouse-scale structures that emulate prairie settlements which your kids will love to play in, the Animal Encounters Trail, Butterfly House & Garden, 6.5 miles of hiking trails and much more.
The animatronic dinos on display for Dinosaurs Live! are actually part of the collection of dinosaurs built, owned and maintained by Billings Productions (The Dinosaur Company) down the road in Allen. (See dinosaur activity #1.)
Sept. 4, 2021 – Feb. 21, 2022
Heard Museum, McKinney | heardmuseum.org/dinosaurs-live
5. Dinosaur Valley State Park, Glen Rose
If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the creatures who came before us, you won’t find a better place to do so than Dinosaur Valley State Park. Visitors to Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas can walk tracks made by dinosaurs, dig and discover fossils and learn about prehistoric earth.
Actual dinosaur footprints can be see in the bed of the Paluxy River. Of course, since the dinosaur tracks are on the river bed, they are not always visible. It is recommendable to check the Dinosaur Valley State Park Facebook (here) for trail status and current track visibility.
There are a number of campsites within Dinosaur Valley State Park, click here for details, but if camping isn't your thing there are plenty of Airbnb options in nearby Glen Rose and Granbury.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
1629 Park Rd. 59, Glen Rose
6. Dinosaur World, Glen Rose
If you visit Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, a stop at Dinosaur World is a must.
This 20 acre park offers fun for all the family, but especially for the youngsters that are fascinated by dinosaurs. Visitors have an opportunity to literally walk among the dinosaurs— 100 life-size dinos along a winding walkway.
Dinosaur World in Glen Rose also has fossil replicas and natural fossils, a dinosaur dig for the kids, a playground and picnic tables. Pets are also welcome as long as they are on a leash.
Note: On writing this post (Oct.2021) the fossil dig, gem dig and playground are all closed due to safety concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
1058 Park Road 59, Glen Rose
7. Perot Museum, Dallas
One of the permenant exhibits at the Perot Museum in Dallas, the T. BOONE PICKENS LIFE THEN AND NOW HALL, features dinosaurs. In fact, you'll find towering dinosaurs, rare fossils, and virtual paleo-habitats inside this exhibition hall.
Plus guests are greeted by a giant T-Rex at the top of the escalators. This T-Rex, reportedly named Stan, is the second most complete Tyranasaires Rex ever found.
Of course, the Perot Museum in Dallas offers much more than dinosaurs. At the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, you can race a T. rex, challenge friends in robot competitions, explore the astonishing links between dinos and modern-day birds, experience a simulated earthquake, journey through the universe, and test what it means to “be human”. Everything from dinosaurs to DNA to diamonds are packed into five levels of hands-on discovery and adventure.
2201 N. Field Street, Dallas
8. Ladonia Fossil Park, Ladonia
Located just over an hour from Collin County, Ladonia Fossil Park is the best place in North Texas to go fossil hunting. This area is most well known for its Cretaceous and Pleistocene Period fossils such as mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, mastodons, and mammoths, and fossils found in this area can date back more than 80 million years.
But will you actually find any fossils? Yes! Small fossils such as mosasaur teeth and shark teeth are so easy to find even the most novice fossil hunter will not leave empty handed.
Ladonia Fossil Park
2.8 miles north of Ladonia on FM 2990 at the North Sulphur River
9. The Dinosaur Park
The Dinosaur Park in Bastrop, Texas is similar to Dinosaur World in Glen Rose and Dinosaurs Live! at the Heard Museum, featuring life-size dinos along a nature trail.
Other attractions include a fossil-dig, playground, picnic area and the Dinosaur Store stocked with a variety of gifts sure to please any dinosaur fan.
The Dinosaur Park is located near to Bastrop, Texas and the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort.
The Dinosaur Park
893 Union Chapel Road, Cedar Creek (near Bastrop), Texas
This incredible dinosaur museum is one of the best things to do for any dino lover.
The museum is located on the campus of Southwestern Adventist University and is where over 30,000 dinosaur bones (excavated in Wyoming) are cleaned, cataloged and preserved.
The Dinosaur Science Museum features one of America's largest dino collections but since this is a working researcg facility you can also watch as fossils are cleaned and prepared.
Dinosaur Science Museum
113 West Magnolia Street Keene, Texas
BONUS (worth the trip!): Houston Museum of Natural Science
The Houston Museum of Natural Science has an entire floor (almost) dedicated to dinosaurs for its permanent exhibit, the Morian Hall of Paleontology. The Morian Hall is both terrifying and fascinating—packed with prehistoric beasts. Here you'll find the dinosaur skeletons on display atop simple white platforms so close you could reach out and touch them (but please do not to touch).
Next time you are in Houston, the Houston Museum of Natural Science is a must for anyone even remotely interested in dinos. Take note that Thursday evenings, entry is free.
Houston Museum of Natural Science
5555 Hermann Park Dr., Houston, Texas