Jurassic jaunts offer a roarsome experience – Fossils, feathered dinosaurs and a whole host of new Jurassic adventures are far from extinct in England – and VisitEngland has picked the best exhibitions on offer.
The Etches Collection, Kimmeridge, Dorset
Set to be at the top of any fossil fanatic’s bucket-list, The Etches Collection is a brand new multi-million pound, state-of-the-art museum and new visitor attraction.
It home is in the small but mighty village of Kimmeridge in Dorset. Housing a 2000-strong collection of unique fossils all found along the Jurassic Coast by local collector Steve Etches,
The Etches Collection is a museum unlike any other. Innovative effects create an immersive underwater world transporting visitors on a journey through life and death under the seas of Kimmeridge over 150 million years ago.
Internationally renowned for the abundance of fossils on its shores, the Jurassic Coast is England’s only natural World Heritage Site and visitors will now be able to see new discoveries being worked on by Steve Etches and other palaeontologists in the museum’s open working laboratory. www.theetchescollection.org/home
Cary Arms, ‘Rock ‘n’ Stroll’ weekends
Celebrating 400 million years of geology, Devon’s Cary Arms five-star boutique inn set in the heart of the UNESCO English Riviera Geopark, has launched three ‘Rock ‘n’ Stroll’ weekends.
Led by local geologist and Fellow of the Royal Geological Society, Richard Blagden, the themed weekends running this autumn will encompass cliff-top walks and cave exploration, taking in the dramatic coastline and geological wonders hidden in the Geopark coves.
Weekend highlights include a stunning two hour coastal walk to the prehistoric Kents Cavern, and a walk to Oddicombe Beach to see the many different types of rock and fossils.
The Rock ‘n’ Stroll weekends start from £335 per person including two nights’ in luxury sea facing accommodation, entry to Kents Cavern with lunch and the guided walks. The weekends will run 28th-30th October, 11th-13th November and 18th-20th November, 2016. www.caryarms.co.uk
Gigantoraptor at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham
In a world-exclusive exhibition, a unique dinosaur display is coming to Wollaton Hall in Nottingham next summer, opening on 1 July – 30 October 2017. On loan from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, it will feature the best preserved dinosaur fossils from anywhere in the world, never before seen outside of Asia. One of the highlights of the exhibition will be the Gigantoraptor, which at 4 metres high and 8 metres long is the largest feathered dinosaur ever found.
Dinosaur theme park world, Lost Kingdom, at Paultons Park, The New Forest
Transporting families back millions of years to when dinosaurs roamed the world, Paultons Park’s new £9m attraction Lost Kingdom is set in four acres of Jurassic landscape.
The attraction is inspired by the era of fierce velociraptors, flying pterodactyls, giant triceratops and the mighty tyrannosaurus rex. Ideal for adventurous families, the new theme park land has launched a whole host of dinosaur attractions, including two world-class family rollercoasters.
Alive, Dinosaur Encounter is a unique attraction where families come face to face with the Park’s very own, but fortunately quite friendly, captive T-Rex, while Lost Kingdom allows families to be thrown back millions of years to see, hear and feel a prehistoric world. www.paultonspark.co.uk
Dinosaur installation at The Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, Milnthorpe, Cumbria
A life size model of a tyrannosaurus rex’s skull has recently ‘hatched’ at popular family attraction, The Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, dubbed ‘a little zoo with lots to do.’
Home to a host of critters and creatures including two snow leopards, the zoo already takes families on a fun journey of evolution from fossils and small insects through to birds and mammals. Thanks to its new dinosaur installation visitors will now also be able to delve into the relatively unknown world of dinosaurs. www.wildlifeoasis.co.uk/
Jurassic Journey, Cornwall
Junior explorers can jump aboard the newly-opened Dino-Express ride at Flambards in Cornwall unleash their inner dinosaur hunter and spot life-size dinosaurs. The Stegosaurus, a five-metre tall Brachiosaurus, awesome T-Rex and giant Triceratops are all waiting to be discovered, while a visit to the Dino-Nursey & Hatchery offers the chance to spot giant dinosaur eggs and the latest arrivals including a baby Velociraptor. Complete dinosaur skeletons are also on view with the opportunity to join the Dino-Dig and unearth a series of fossilised remains in a special prehistoric boneyard.