Big John, the world's largest fossil triceratops at Glazer Children's Museum in Tampa

National Dinosaur Day is June 1: Where to find dinosaurs in Tampa Bay

National Dinosaur Day is June 1 and what better way to celebrate than to go nose to snout with these ferocious…and not-so-ferocious creatures?

While we won’t find dinosaur fossils in the ground in Florida —since this mass of land we call home didn’t emerge from the ocean until a whopping 35 million years after the dinosaurs went extinct according to the Tampa Bay Fossil Club —there are still some awesome ways you and the kids can experience a day of prehistoric fun.

Dinosaurs in Tampa Bay:

'Big John' To Tampa Things to Do Winter Break
Kids and adults can crawl under the triceratops fossil and see from underneath too! Photo provided by Glazer Children’s Museum.

Big John, the world’s largest fossil triceratops at Glazer Children’s Museum

Where: 110 W. Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa
If you haven’t had the chance to see Big John, this summer is a great opportunity to meet him with the kids. This record-breaking dinosaur fossil was discovered by paleontologist Walter Stein in the Hell’s Creek Formation in South Dakota and brought here to Tampa by local dad and philanthropist Sidd Padgidipati who owns the dinosaur.

Dinosaur World Florida

Where: 5145 Harvey Tew Blvd, Plant City
You can’t miss Dinosaur World when you drive along I-4 in Plant City. Make the pit stop to walk among the dinosaurs, cool off in their splash pad, play on their dinosaur-inspired playground, and even dig for fossils and gems!

MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry)

Where: 4801 E. Fowler Avenue, Tampa
You can see a replica of a Diplodocus dinosaur on display inside MOSI along with the popular Recylasaurus Rex located outside of the museum. But, that’s not all that’s roaring at MOSI! A brand-new exhibit Brick Dinos just opened where you can create your own Jurassic brick dinosaurs!

M.A.P.S. Museum

Where: 7650 Orchid Lake Road, New Port Richey
The Museum of Archaeology, Paleontology, and Science, Inc. (M.A.P.S.) is a unique place that houses artifacts from Egypt, Greece, Rome, Africa, and the Americas. But, they also have dinosaur bones on display, including a real fossilized dinosaur egg. The museum is open on weekends and has scheduled docent tours on Sundays.


Did you know??

A sea turtle is Florida’s oldest known vertebrate fossil at 100 million years old according to the Florida Museum in Gainesville

Worth the drive to see dinosaurs in Florida:

The Dinosaur Store dinosaurs in Cocoa Beach
The Dinosaur Store in Cocoa Beach. Photo by Laura Byrne.


The Dinosaur Store in Cocoa Beach:

This was a cute indoor activity while visiting the East Coast. There is an entire section of the place filled with replicas of dinosaur fossils and dinosaur sculptures. They also have a new Terror Bird exhibit, which roamed Florida 2+ million years ago.

Florida Museum in Gainesville:

The Florida Museum features the Florida Fossils: Evolution of Life and Land exhibit which features an internationally acclaimed fossil collection. Kids can see some of Florida’s first mammals and marine creatures in a unique display and even the jaws of the extinct Megalodon!

Orlando Science Center in Orlando:

You can see replicas of ancient sea creatures and dinosaur fossils at the DinoDigs exhibit, including a ferocious T-Rex!

Worth the flight to see dinosaurs: Dinosaur National Monument

DInosaur National Monument Quarry Wall
Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, Quarry Wall. Photo by Laura Byrne.

Are you heading out west this summer to Colorado or Utah? Consider driving over to Dinosaur National Monument which spans the two states. Our favorite experience was the Fossill Quarry Wall on the Utah side of the park where you can see thousands of dinosaur bones embedded in a carved-out wall of an ancient river bed. The hiking is pretty incredible too!