Dinosaurs have been extinct for 66 million years, but dinosaur-themed attractions are far from extinct! It is evident that people of all ages and backgrounds continue to be fascinated by dinosaurs. Why? Maybe because dinosaurs are so big, scary, and unlike any creatures found today. One reason kids love dinosaurs is because although they are huge and fierce they are not around today to scare them in person! Ask any kid under 12 – dinosaurs are cool.
Although we can only imagine what life was like in prehistoric times, dinosaur sculptures, fossils, skeletons, or dinosaur-themed attractions can help to take us back to a time before humans existed on this planet.
Our fascination with how the wonders of life on Earth evolved is reflected in the popularity of dinosaur-themed attractions. These include dinosaur parks, prehistoric-themed mini-golf courses, playground fossil digs, dinosaur walls, museum exhibits and educational displays of dinosaurs and extinct megafauna.
As well as stimulating our imagination, dinosaur-themed attractions can have various economic, social and environmental benefits. These outcomes depend on the objectives of the group or individual who commissions them. The following list covers a range of reasons why investing in a dinosaur-themed attraction can be a good idea.
1. Unique educational experience
Although people are generally intrigued by dinosaurs, most of us know very little about the prehistoric world apart from what we’ve seen in movies, or through occasional visits to the museum. Seeing life-size replicas or models of these now-extinct creatures can help us learn about their history, anatomy, behaviour, and evolution. It can bring them to life – not literally of course, but in our imagination – so we can visualise what life was like on our planet millions of years ago.
A dinosaur walk, dinosaur park, playground fossil dig, dinosaur sculpture or prehistoric-themed exhibit provides a valuable educational experience for children and adults alike. To enhance educational value, dinosaur-themed attractions can include informative displays, signs, or guided tours.
Even a fun-filled attraction like a dinosaur-themed mini-golf course can offer educational opportunities. For example, each hole on the course could feature a different dinosaur or prehistoric animal, and provide information about its history, habitat, diet, or behaviour. This helps visitors learn about science and natural history in a fun and interactive way.
2. Entertainment for families and tourists
Dinosaur parks and prehistoric-themed attractions bring the past to life by entertaining us and stimulating our imagination. Walking among towering dinosaur sculptures, hearing realistic roars and growls, and imagining what it would be like to live in the time of dinosaurs can be a thrilling and immersive experience.
A dinosaur walk or park can also offer interactive exhibits, games, or activities for visitors to enjoy. It can even include immersive holographic experiences that combine holograms with life-size 3D sculptures of dinosaurs. Now that’s cool!
Another option for engaging families through a dinosaur-themed attraction is a prehistoric mini-golf course. Mini-golf is a social, easy-to-learn activity that can help improve hand-eye coordination, concentration, and social skills. By incorporating prehistoric themes into the course design, such as dinosaur statues, cave paintings, or jungle landscapes, the experience will be memorable and enjoyable for visitors of all ages.
3. Boosting environmental awareness
A dinosaur-themed attraction or exhibit can raise awareness about environmental issues and conservation efforts. Dinosaurs became extinct due to a variety of factors such as climate change and natural disasters, which are issues that affect the Earth today.
By showcasing these magnificent creatures, a prehistoric or dinosaur-themed exhibit can draw attention to the fragility of the Earth’s ecosystems and the importance of protecting endangered species. In addition, megafauna sculptures have an important role to play in educating people about biodiversity and the importance of preserving our natural heritage. Megafauna are large animals, most (but not all) of which are now extinct.
4. Supporting scientific research
Although most dinosaur research happens out on archaeological dig sites, institutions might install a dinosaur exhibit to reflect or support their scientific research efforts. For example, a museum or university could use a dinosaur display to promote and support studies on dinosaur behaviour, physiology, or ecology. And by observing how visitors interact with the exhibits, researchers could also gain insights into human learning, perception, and psychology.
A dinosaur-themed exhibit could also promote scientific discovery and innovation. By investing in research on dinosaur behaviour, genetics, or evolution, scientists gain insights into a wide range of topics, from the origins of life on Earth to the development of new technologies and medicines. Installing dinosaur sculptures and displays in research buildings, public spaces or at academic events helps to raise awareness of such research efforts.
5. Cultural significance
For some communities, dinosaurs have cultural or spiritual significance. For example, in certain Native American tribes, dinosaurs are seen as sacred creatures that symbolize strength and resilience. Although humans did not live in the time of dinosaurs, there is evidence that Aboriginal populations of First Australians co-existed with ancient megafauna for 17,000 years.
By incorporating dinosaur or megafauna themes into a public space such as a park or playground, communities can feel a greater sense of connection to the land and its history. For an example of a prehistoric-themed play space that relates to the local area, see the Dreamtime themed nature playground in South East Qld.
Megafauna sculptures also help to connect people to the land by highlighting the connection between flora and fauna and promoting biodiversity. An excellent example of this is the exhibit of megafauna sculptures at the Australian National Botanic Gardens.
6. Art and visual appeal
To provide visual interest, a dinosaur-themed display or sculpture can be installed to attract attention or to enhance an interior space. For example, a restaurant or hotel might use a dinosaur wall frieze as a distinctive feature to provide a more memorable experience for customers.
Similarly, a theme park or adventure play centre might install a trail of dinosaur footprints and sculptures to add interest and appeal to younger visitors. Even a simple sculpture such as a giant dinosaur egg can add a touch of pizazz to an interior space.
7. Therapy and relaxation
Because dinosaurs are such iconic symbols, a dinosaur-themed installation can play a positive role in therapy. For example, children with autism or sensory processing disorders may find comfort and stimulation in the colours, textures, sounds and safe environment of a dinosaur walk or playground.
Additionally, adults seeking relaxation may find solace in the awe-inspiring environment of a dinosaur-themed walk, or feel inspired by an exhibit that reignites their wonder in the natural world.
8. Creative, nature-based play
Dinosaurs are perennially popular in kids’ playgrounds and childcare centres because they fire children’s imagination. For instance, take a look at the giant T-Rex head in this dinosaur park playground.
Kids know a dinosaur sculpture isn’t real and can’t hurt them, so they can get up close and personal to explore and admire the detail of a dinosaur’s skin, teeth, eyes and other features. That’s why Natureworks sculptors always do extensive natural history research for dinosaur and megafauna sculptures to make sure we get all the details right! In fact, our sculptures are so accurate and realistic that they can be used by museums (read our story here).
Another form of prehistoric-themed play is a fossil dig, where children dig to discover ‘fossils’ in the sand. This engages kids in creative, collaborative play that supports positive interaction and behaviour. Fossil digs can be a worthy addition to a childcare centre, school, nature park or community playground.
9. Community engagement
Activity-based dinosaur-themed attractions such as prehistoric mini-golf courses provide an opportunity to foster community engagement and social interaction. For instance, local schools, clubs, or charities can organize mini-golf tournaments or fundraising events at the course. This is a way to bring people together, promote teamwork and sportsmanship, and raise awareness about local issues.
In addition, dinosaur-themed attractions can attract visitors and raise the profile of a community, particularly if the attraction relates to the history or geography of the local area. A dinosaur or megafauna sculpture installed in a public space such as a park or plaza is not just an eye-catching work of art, it becomes a local landmark. This in turn becomes a positive symbol for the community.
10. Business potential
Last but not least, a dinosaur-themed attraction has business potential for investors and can boost the local economy. Natureworks’ dinosaur sculptures have found their way into theme parks, wildlife centres, adventure playgrounds, water splash parks and tourist attractions. As a result, they have helped to promote and support the success of those businesses and the surrounding community.
As an example of a potentially rewarding business opportunity, a prehistoric mini-golf course is relatively simple to set up and can attract a regular income stream. Mini golf is a popular leisure activity that attracts a wide range of customers, from families and tourists to couples and corporate groups. By offering memorable themes, a mini golf business can differentiate itself and attract repeat customers. It’s even possible to create a prehistoric glow in the dark mini-golf course!
In conclusion: for themed experiences, dinosaurs rule!
Overall, a dinosaur park, playground, mini-golf course, educational display or other prehistoric-themed experience can have deeper and more meaningful motivations that go beyond entertainment, education or commerce.
Tapping into the cultural, environmental, and social benefits of dinosaur-themed attractions has the potential to provide a valuable and transformative experience for visitors of all ages and backgrounds. It also makes good business sense.
Of course, at Natureworks we may be biased… but we say dinosaurs rule!
Please contact Natureworks to discuss options for prehistoric or dinosaur-themed attractions.
- Natureworks Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Catalogues
- Natureworks Dinosaur & Prehistoric products
- More posts about dinosaurs
- Australian Museum. The Mesozoic Era
- Queensland Museum. Meet the Megafauna
- Strauss, Bob. (2023). Why Do Kids Like Dinosaurs?
- Westaway, M., Olley, J., & Grun, R. (2017). Aboriginal Australians co-existed with the megafauna for at least 17,000 years