21 Best Dinosaur Museums in the US You Need to See (2024)

Last Updated on January 05, 2024 by Nikki Jain

There's nothing quite like discovering the fantastic world of dinosaurs. Whether you're hyped up by the Jurassic Park movies, a dino-obsessed kid, or just fascinated by the prehistoric world, there's no denying that these incredible creatures are super cool.

For over a hundred years, the US has been a treasure trove of dinosaur fossils. They've been found everywhere from the East Coast to the West, from Montana in the north to Texas in the south.

But where should you head to see these incredible creatures? This list has the 21 best dinosaur museums in the US. It has every type of museum, from classic natural science museums to parks with replicas and even US dinosaur museums located at the actual dig sites.

With a list this long and diverse, chances are there are dinosaur museums near you.

The Best Dinosaur Museums in the USA

Table of Contents [Show]

Affiliate links may be used in this post. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use my affiliate link.

1: Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, Montana

Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, Montana
Dreamstime/Adam Wineke

At the top of the list of the best Dinosaur Museums in the US is the great Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman.

Montana is the site of numerous dinosaur discoveries, so it makes sense that the Museum of the Rockies has an incredible collection of dinosaur fossils.

In the Siebel Dinosaur Complex, you'll love seeing the impressive T-Rex and the huge Allosaurus. The museum also has an impressive number of T-Rex and Triceratops skulls, dino babies, eggs and nests.

A special aspect of the Museum of the Rockies is the Bowman Dinosaur Viewing Lab. Here you can watch scientists as they work on real dinosaur fossils, removing them from rock and piecing them together. You can even ask the scientists a question. How cool is that?!

General admission tickets for the Museum of the Rockies costs $18 and include all exhibitions and planetarium shows. Seniors, youth, and Montana State University students, staff and faculty receive discounts.

Address: 600 W Kagy Blvd, Bozeman, MT 59717

Visit Website

2: Wyoming Dinosaur Center, Thermopolis, Wyoming

Wyoming Dinosaur Center, Thermopolis, Wyoming
Wyoming Dinosaur Center

The thing that sets the Wyoming Dinosaur Center apart from others on this list of best dinosaur Museums in the US is that the museum is part of the active dig sites.

So, instead of bringing dino fossils to the people, the people have the unique experience of coming to the place where they are found. This means that the Wyoming Dinosaur Center's sole focus is to discover and display dinosaurs.

You'll love seeing Jimbo the supersaurus and Lori a hesperornis, the largest and smallest dinosaurs discovered in Wyoming. One of the best things to do at the Dinosaur Center is to "Dig for a Day".

In this fantastic experience, you can actually go out and work with paleontologists at the dig site. How awesome is that?

You can visit the museum for $13 or tour the active dig sites for $14.50. Discounts are available for seniors, children under 14 and veterans.

Address: 110 Carter Ranch Rd, Thermopolis, WY 82443

Visit Website

3: Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois

Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois
Dreamstime/R. Gino Santa Maria / Shutterfree, Llc

One name: Sue! That's right, the Field Museum is where you're going to find the incredible, nearly complete T-Rex.

It’s one thing to see Sue in all her glory. But it’s another to understand how she came to be and what we’ve learned from her magnificent skeleton.

The Field Museum does an awesome job creating a visual and audio presentation about Sue. It’s one of America’s best dinosaur exhibits as it explains various parts of the body and what scientists have learned from her.

Another fascinating aspect of the Field Museum is that they display their dinosaurs within an evolutionary context in the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet.

Don’t miss the 3D movies at the Field. These immersive experiences give you even more insight into Sue the T-Rex and Titanosaur Máximo seen in the exhibition.

Field Museum admission costs $30-43, depending on what you want to see. Local state and city residents receive discounted prices.

Address: 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605

Visit Website

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Chicago

4: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, California

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, California
Dreamstime/Chon Kit Leong

With over 300 fossils and 20 mounted skeletons, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles is seriously one of the best museums with dinosaur exhibits.

Unique to the NHM, you'll see a display of T-Rexs at different stages of life, including a two-year-old, 14-year-old and 17 years old. Keep an eye out for the plesiosaur with an unborn baby preserved in her abdomen – the only one of its kind.

Videos throughout the exhibition show how teams from the museum are out in the field discovering and digging up new fossils.

Don't miss the Dino Lab on the 2nd floor, where you can watch paleontologists working on fossils. Dinosaur Encounters is a live performance with life-size dinosaur puppets that seem to bring them to life.

Admission to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is $15, with discounts for seniors, students and children.

Timed tickets are required for AMNH. General admission costs $28, with different price points for seniors, children, students and local residents.

Address: 900 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Visit Website

5: American Museum of Natural History, New York City, New York

American Museum of Natural History, New York City, New York
Dreamstime/Sergii Figurnyi

The American Museum of Natural History has been a favorite among the dinosaur museums in the USA for decades. The first dinosaur on display at the museum was the Apatosaurus in 1905.

Since then, the AMNH has continued to grow, becoming the largest dinosaur museum in the US. Today it has a whole floor of the museum devoted to fossils, including 100 different dinosaurs.

Because AMNH was one of the first to exhibit dinosaur fossils, some of the methods they used now seem outdated (like casting in plaster). But don't take this as a reason to count it out. The Museum of Natural History is still a fabulous place to visit, with so many incredible dinosaurs on display. 

There's so much to see at this iconic museum. Dino enthusiasts should head to the fourth floor for the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs and the Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs for some fabulous displays. Don't miss the enormous Titanosaur that's only been there since 2016.

Timed tickets are required for AMNH. General admission costs $28, with different price points for seniors, children, students and local residents.

Address: 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024

Visit Website

Also Read: The Best Children's Museums in the USA

6: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC
Dreamstime/Ritu Jethani

The Smithsonian National Museum must be applauded for the major renovation of its dinosaur exhibition. Since 1911 this great museum has been displaying dinosaur fossils. But, like many classic museums of the day, it was a very stoic display.

To shake things up in 2014, the museum began the process of revamping and redesigning the hall. Today, you will discover dinosaurs in much more interesting and energetic poses.

For example, the massive T-Rex is in the middle of devouring a triceratops. Making David H. Koch Hall of Fossils - Deep Time one of the best dinosaur exhibits in America.

You’ll be able to even touch some of the dino fossils to have a real personal experience with what you’re seeing.

Amazingly, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is open 364 days a year (closed December 25) and free for all visitors.

Address: 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20560

Visit Website

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Washington DC

7: Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada
Dreamstime/Chon Kit Leong

For a realistic experience with the dinosaurs, consider visiting the Last Vegas Natural History Museum. Here, the museum has created replicas of some of our favorites.

You'll find a T-Rex, ankylosaurus, triceratops, and ichthyosaurus. Setting the scene, you'll find the dinos in designed habitats complete with sounds and movement.

It's really something when the 35-foot T-Rex lowers his head toward you, baring his teeth and roaring. For this, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum is one of the great places to see dinosaurs.

Definitely check out the mummified dino, Leonardo, at the LVNHM. This unique specimen was naturally mummified before being fossilized, giving us a rare look at the dinosaur’s skin texture. To see this cool exhibit follow the signs to the Dinosaur Mummy CSI: Cretaceous Science Investigation.

General tickets to the Las Vegas Natural History Museum cost $12, with discounts for seniors, military, students, and children.

Address: 900 Las Vegas Blvd N, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Visit Website

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Las Vegas

8: Dinosaur National Monument, Jensen, Utah

Dinosaur National Monument, Jensen, Utah
Dreamstime/Iulian Gherghel

If you’re hoping to actually reach out and touch a real dinosaur fossil, then definitely head to Dinosaur National Monument, one of the best dinosaur museums in America.

In this incredible place, you'll come face to face with walls of rock with dinosaur fossils peaking out, frozen in the middle of excavation.

The Quarry Exhibition Hall has been built around a wall of rock that was once a riverbed. Today, we can see over 1,500 dinosaur bones where they were solidified in time.

Unlike other exhibitions where the fossils are mounted to show how they stood when alive, here the fossils are still in the ground.

Knowing it’s hard to understand exactly what you’re seeing, there are interactive displays in the exhibitions. These will help you visually place the bones into models of dinosaurs. Which is totally cool!

Dinosaur National Monument also has amazing hikes in the surrounding landscape, where you can see petroglyphs and more dino bones.

Admission to Dinosaur National Monument costs $25 per vehicle and is valid for 7 days.

Address: 11625 E 1500 S, Jensen, UT 84035

Visit Website

9: Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Flickr/Jim, the Photographer

The Academy of Natural Sciences is a special place in the history of dinosaur museums. It was the first place where a dinosaur skeleton was mounted for display in 1868.

Today, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is still one of the best dinosaur museums in the US.

Although you won’t find the original hadrosaur that was on display back in the 1800s, you will find about 15 different fully mounted dino skeletons and dozens of other specimens.

The Dinosaur Hall is where you’ll find fully standing T-Rex, Avaceratops, Chasmosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus, Tenontosaurus, and Tylosaurus.

The Academy of Natural Sciences is open to visitors Wednesday through Sunday. General admission costs $23 for those 13 and older. Seniors, children under 13, students, and the military receive discounted tickets. If you buy tickets in advance online, you'll enjoy a reduced price for everyone.

Address: 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Visit Website

10: Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Dreamstime/David Coleman

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has been a steadfast icon in the world of US dinosaur museums.

Back in 1907, "Dippy", the first Diplodocus Carnegii (named after Andrew Carnegie) was put up on display. Since then, Carnegie has continued to exhibit dinos as accurately as possible.

Specifically, the museum changes displays if new information is learned about the dinosaurs. For example, tetrapods are now displayed with their backs and tails horizontal to the ground, not upright like first thought.

Definitely check out the museum’s Paleolab. Here you can watch as paleontologists examine and work with dino fossils.

The museum is open daily except Tuesdays. Make sure to buy your tickets to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in advance to reserve your entry time.

General admission costs $25. Discounts are available for seniors, students and children 18 and under. Consider visiting after 3pm on weekdays for discounted entry.

Address: 4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Visit Website

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Pittsburgh

11: Dinosphere at The Children’s Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana

Dinosphere at The Children’s Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana
Dreamstime/James Kirkikis

From the moment you arrive at The Children's Museum in Indianapolis, it's clear you're in a very special place for dino lovers.

You can't miss the larger-than-life (but really, they're actually life-sized) sauropods climbing up the side of the museum and sneaking in!

The Dinosphere is an incredible experience where you will see both fully mounted skeletons and lifelike animatronic dinos that move and make noise.

There are also touchable fossils, interactive digital displays, dino art, and a Paleo Lab to explore. Dinosphere has so many ways for visitors to understand these amazing creatures; it's clearly one of the best dinosaur museums in the United States.

Entrance to the Dinosphere is included with admission to The Children’s Museum. Adult tickets cost $33.50 and youth $27. For lower rates, consider buying tickets at least 2 weeks in advance. During certain times of the year, the museum is closed on Mondays.

Address: 3000 N Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46208

Visit Website

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Indianapolis

12: Dinosaur World, Plant City, Florida

Dinosaur World, Plant City, Florida
Dreamstime/Tony Bosse

Dinosaur World, Florida, is one of the best dinosaur-themed parks that had to be included on this list of the best dinosaur museums in the US.

So, what makes it so special? It's got an impressive 200 dinosaur replicas spread out over the outdoor park, making it feel like you're walking among these giant creatures. The museum on site has real and cast dino fossils and an animatronics exhibition.

Don’t miss taking a stroll through Dino Walk. You’ll enjoy how the replicas are placed within the lush vegetation of the natural Florida landscape.

Kids will love digging for fossils in the Fossil Dig and Bone Yard. Don't miss the Excavation Cave, which is a fun show.

Little ones can also pan for treasures at the Dino Gem Mine (added cost beyond general admission).

Admission to Dinosaur World costs $20.37 and $15 for kids 3-12 years old.

Address: 5145 Harvey Tew Rd, Plant City, FL 33565

Visit Website

13: Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, North Carolina

Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, North Carolina
Dreamstime/Cynthia Mccrary

If you love dinos, definitely check out the newest exhibition at the Museum of Natural Sciences in North Carolina.

The brand new Dueling Dinosaurs (opened in 2023) gives visitors insights into the world of dinosaurs like no other.

The highlight of the new exhibit (and the meaning behind the exhibition title) are the fossils of a T-Rex and a Triceratops that seemingly died together and were fossilized.

Additionally, viewers will be able to get a 360-degree view of some specimens and learn new fascinating information about these wonderful creatures.

Other great dino exhibits at NCMNS include Terror of the South and Prehistoric North Carolina. There you'll see fossils like "Willo," the Thescelosaurus, a Giant Ground Sloth and a nearly complete Acrocanthosaurus.

The NCMNS is daily except on Mondays. This incredible museum is free to all guests!

Address: 11 W Jones St, Raleigh, NC 27601

Visit Website

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Raleigh

14: Rainbow Forest Museum at Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Rainbow Forest Museum at Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
Dreamstime/Chon Kit Leong

The Petrified Forest has an impressive continuous section of exposed Triassic-aged rock. Lucky for us, this gives us great insights into the area at that time.

At the park's Rainbow Forest Museum, you'll be able to see some of these great discoveries and learn more about that time. On display are skulls of a Phytosaur and Metoposaurus, as well as skeletons of Desmatosuchus and Postosuchus.

Definitely schedule some time to visit the Museum Demonstration Lab at the Painted Desert Visitors Center to see paleontologists as they work on fossils.

The murals in the exhibitions are awe-inspiring. Artists worked closely with paleontologists to ensure their depictions were as accurate as possible.

It goes without saying that it's absolutely amazing to get out into the Petrified Forest National Park on a hike to see these unique petrified trees.

Admission to Petrified Forest National Park costs $25 per vehicle and is valid for 7 days.

Address: 6618 Petrified Forest Rd, Holbrook, AZ 86025

Visit Website

15: Dinosaur World, Cave City, Kentucky

Dinosaur World, Cave City, Kentucky
Dreamstime/Khairil Junos

Just like its sister site in Florida, Dinosaur World in Kentucky is a lot of fun for dino lovers and is one of the great dinosaur attractions in the US.

This outdoor park has hundreds of dinosaur replicas to discover. Positioned within the dense local vegetation, visitors feel like they are discovering the dinos in their own habitat, something that delights both kids and adults alike.

To see some real specimens, head into the museum at Dinosaur World. There you'll find a selection of fossils on display.

Kids will have fun at the Fossil Dig, Bone Yard and playing on the dino-themed playground. Consider taking the experience up a notch by doing the Dino Gem Excavation. It is an additional cost, but kids love it.

Admission to Dinosaur World, Kentucky, costs $15.64 for adults. Kids (3-12 years old) and seniors qualify for a lower price point.

Address: 711 Mammoth Cave Rd, Cave City, KY 42127

Visit Website

16: Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, Woodland Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, Woodland Park, Colorado
Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center

The Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center is a bit different from a typical dinosaur museum in the US. Here, Triebold Paleontology Inc. (TPI) provides services related to dinosaurs.

They are experts in the field and actively discover, study, and process fossils. They also help other institutions with things like exhibiting fossils and making casts, etc.

When you visit the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, you get a view of this incredible work. You'll see hundreds of dinosaur specimens discovered by TPI and 3D models of skeletons also. Get a closer look at the work TPI does in the preparation lab.

Unique to the Dinosaur Resource Center is that it has more than just a typical gift shop. Instead, you can purchase replica fossils and real fossils too.

Admission to the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center costs $13 and $9 for children (5-12 years old). Discounts are offered to seniors and members of the military.

Address: 201 S Fairview St, Woodland Park, CO 80863

Visit Website

17: Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman, Oklahoma

Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman, Oklahoma
Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History

There’s so much to see at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. But its collection of dinosaurs is remarkable.

Visitors looking for dinos should head straight for the Siegfried Family Hall of Ancient Life. Here, you’ll be treated to a number of great specimens.

A highlight is the Apatosaurus facing off against the Saurophaganax. Another dynamic display is that of a Smilodon fighting an Arctodus over the body of a bison.

Other exciting things to see include dragonflies with wings spanning two feet and the largest head, according to Guinness World Records: that of a Pentaceratops that is over 10 feet long.

Admission to the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History costs $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $6 for children (ages 4-17 years old). 

Address: 2401 Chautauqua Ave, Norman, OK 73072

Visit Website

18: Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays, Kansas

Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays, Kansas
Sternberg Museum of Natural History

The history of the Sternberg Museum begins way back in the 1860s when the family began to search for fossils as a hobby.

With major discoveries, the collection developed into the great Sternberg Museum of Natural History. Today, visitors will see specimens, many of which are from the Cretaceous time period, when Kansas and the surrounding area were underwater in the Western Interior Seaway.

Make sure to visit the Fossil Gallery, Bringing Fossils to Life, and the Diorama exhibitions. Check out the museum's collection of Pteranodon and Tylosaurus, the Kansas state fossils.

Don't miss the "Fish within a Fish" display. Extremely rare, this fossil of a Xiphactinus shows a secondary fish in its abdomen – the Xiphactinus' last meal.

The Sternberg is open daily but closed Mondays in the winter. Admission is $10. Discounted tickets are available for seniors and youths.

Address: 3000 Sternberg Dr, Hays, KS 67601

Visit Website

19: Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience, Canon City, Colorado

Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience, Canon City, Colorado
Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience

If you are in Central Colorado and thinking, "Where are dinosaur museums near me?" consider visiting the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience in Canon City. It's a great place to go, especially if you have little ones that are into dinosaurs.

Three experiences will keep you entertained at the Dinosaur Experience. You can walk among the animated dinosaur replicas on the Dino Wild Walk, challenge yourself on a ropes course, and learn about these great creatures at the museum.

The Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience is open Thursday through Sunday. Tickets are priced according to what you want to do.

For one experience, the price is $15 and $12 for children (2-12 years old). If you want to do the full Dinosaur Experience, prices are $41.95 for adults and $31.95 for children. You'll see discounts when buying online in advance.

Address: 44895 W U.S. 50, Canon City, CO 81212

Visit Website

20: Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, Texas

Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, Texas
Houston Museum of Natural Science

The Houston Museum of Natural Sciences does a superb job helping viewers understand the world of dinosaurs.

You'll see tons of fossil specimens and replicas in the Morian Hall of Paleontology. Designed to take you through evolutionary time, you'll see many skeletons with replicas or paintings of the dinos for a complete understanding of what you're seeing.

The Cretaceous gallery is impressive, with several fully mounted enormous dinosaurs. You'll find the stegosaurus, T-Rex, duck-billed, giant sea turtle and tylosaurus.

Expertly designed, these dinos are positioned in action, many of which are in a predator vs. prey scene, making it one of the best dinosaur museums in America.

General admission to the Houston Museum of Natural Science costs $25 for adults and $16 for children ages 3-11. Discounted tickets are available for seniors, military, and college students.

Thursday afternoons, visitors can visit the museum's permanent exhibitions for free from 2pm-5pm.

Address: 5555 Hermann Park Dr, Houston, TX 77030

Visit Website

Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Houston

21: Badlands Dinosaur Museum, Dickinson, North Dakota

Badlands Dinosaur Museum, Dickinson, North Dakota
Dickinson Museum Center

Rounding out this list of the best dinosaur museums in the US is the Badlands Dinosaur Museum. With the largest number of dinosaur collections in North Dakota, this is one not to miss.

You'll see everything from full skeletons to eggs and other fossil specimens at the museum. Impressively, Badlands Dinosaur Museum has skeletons of Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, Triceratops, Edmontosaurus, Albertosaurus, and Thescelosaurus.

Hands-on exhibits and a look into the preparation lab are highlights of the museum.

The Badlands Dinosaur Museum is open Monday through Saturday and on Sundays during the summer months. Admission costs $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for children ages 3-16.

Address: 188 Museum Dr E, Dickinson, ND 58601

Visit Website

FAQs

Q: What is the biggest dinosaur museum in the US?

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City has the largest dinosaur collection in the US. At the museum, you'll see everything from a Titanosaurus to a mummified duck-billed.

Q: What museum has the best dinosaur exhibit?

This answer depends on what you consider to be the "best". But, if you're looking for a deep understanding, the Field Museum's exhibit on Sue the T-Rex is awesome.

Q: At what museums can I find a display of real dinosaur bones?

Many museums on this list of best dinosaur museums in the US display real dinosaur fossils. The Dinosaur National Monument and Wyoming Dinosaur Center focus on just that.

Q: Where is the best dinosaur museum in the world?

It all depends on what you mean by "the best". But if you consider the number and variety of real dinosaur specimens, comprehensive information, and accessibility for all visitors, then the Museum of the Rockies is it.

Final Thoughts

There you have it: 21 of the best dinosaur museums in the US. From the classic natural science museum with dinosaurs on display for over 100 years to the brand new exhibitions unveiled this year, there's so much to see and learn. You'll find stellar places to experience these magnificent prehistoric creatures in every corner of the country.

18 Best Things To Do In Denali National Park

Read Article