In the summer “Pro” column: school’s out, so we can take fun trips to BIG places. In the “Con” column: school’s out, and having two kids at home leaves little time to blog about it!
We’re just back from almost three weeks in central Florida, and we made tracks across that state, let me tell you. We’ll be sharing the details in future posts, but our trip included visits to: the world’s largest manmade penguin colony; the world’s largest LEGOLAND; the world’s largest Hard Rock Café; the world’s largest collection of personal astronaut mementos and historic spacecraft; and the world’s largest accredited sanctuary for big cats!
But our first stop was to Dinosaur World, the world’s largest dinosaur attraction. I’ve seen the giant T-Rex menacingly stalking the I-4 highway many times on the drive between Tampa and Orlando, and have always wanted to stop in.
I could not have picked a hotter day to visit. It was 173 degrees in the shade. This is what I looked — and felt — like:
Actually, this is just one of more than 150 life-sized dinosaurs you’ll see as you take the paved – and gloriously shaded – “Dinosaur Walk” through a forest setting. Fact-filled signs near each creature provide paleontology lessons along the way. The dinosaur models, up to eighty feet long, are made of fiberglass, steel, and concrete.
You’ll see some with names you’re familiar with, like Brachiosaurus, Triceratops, Pterodactyl, and Stegosaurus. But you’ll also see Chasmosaurus, Spinosaurus, Stygimoloch, and other lesser-known species. Luckily, the signs also include the phonetic pronunciation of their names, so you can sound smart when reading them aloud to your kids.
Obviously, the main purpose of our visit was to take goofy photos.
But there are plenty of activities to keep kids busy, like the Dino Gem Excavation, and short programs, like the Triviasaurus Rex Game Show. If your kids like to get their hands dirty, head over to the Fossil Dig area and let them uncover dinosaur bone fragments and shark teeth.
Dinosaur World also incorporates a skeleton garden, an indoor (air-conditioned!!) museum, a covered picnic area, and what looked like fantastic playgrounds. I feared The Girl’s backside would be seared by the slide in that heat, so I distracted her with a trip to the popcorn cart.
The gift shop was awesome, too. Everything you can imagine in the dino theme, even animal crackers. Also, air conditioning.
5145 Harvey Tew Road, Plant City, FL; 813-717-9865