About three hours south of Indianapolis is Cave City, the home of Dinosaur World. If you’re driving on I-65, it’s really hard to miss it: There is a huge Tyrannosaurus Rex standing guard over the amusement park, welcoming visitors with its sharp teeth and tiny arms. But don’t worry — Dinosaur World is not the least bit scary! This fun, educational destination is a great place to take the family when you’re looking to travel a bit out of the Indy area.
Dinosaur World offers self-guided tours, where you can travel through the woods to spot some dinosaurs. As we walked along on the paved path, we saw life-sized dinosaurs all around us, from packs of Stegosaurus to Woolly Mammoth babies.
There are lots of hands-on, interactive activities to do here, too. One of the most popular is the fossil dig, where kids can sift through a trough of sand to find real fossils. My kids found a few shark teeth and fossilized crinoid, which the attendant who was helping us said was called “Indian money” in Kentucky. Each kid gets to keep five fossils to take home with them.
Another fun thing to do is to try panning for gemstones at the assay station. This activity works kind of the same way as the fossil dig, except visitors, use a screen box and sluice to wash away the soil from the gemstones. It’s super fun to watch the gemstones appear from the mud!
The dinosaur-themed playground, with slides and swings, was a hit with kids of all ages. This area also has lots of shaded picnic tables, where you can sit, relax and enjoy a snack or lunch. Bringing your own food is encouraged (coolers are welcome, too!).
When you’re ready to slow down, step into the Dinosaur World museum, where you will see real and cast prehistoric fossils, dinosaur artifacts, and informational panels along the walls. This is where some of your (or your kid’s) dinosaur questions might be answered.
One of the neat and unusual things about Dinosaur World is that it is extremely dog-friendly. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome, and there are even water stations throughout the park for your canine family members. This means that everyone — two legged or four legged — can have a great time at Dinosaur World.
More Info about Dinosaur World:
Dinosaur World is located at 711 Mammoth Cave Road in Cave City, Kentucky. It is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CST). For more information, visit www.dinosaurworld.com
Nicole Sipe is a freelance writer and editor in Indianapolis. A Southern California native, she enjoys exploring Indy with her husband and two sons.