Monday, April 4, 2016

Jurassic Jersey: A Review of Field Station Dinosaurs

**PLEASE NOTE THAT FIELD STATION DINOSAURS IN SECAUCUS IS NO LONGER OPERATIONAL AND CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC AS OF 9/13/2015.  HOWEVER, THEY RECENTLY ANNOUNCED (2016) THAT THEY WILL BE CHANGING LOCATIONS! CHECK THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE OR WEBSITE FOR MORE DETAILS**

"Jurassic Jersey" has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?  I thought the idea of Field Station Dinosaurs sounded really cool, but my little one is only 4, and not really into dinosaurs, so I thought this was one trip that could wait.  But then a friend of ours gave us tickets as a birthday gift, so off we went!



Where and What is Field Station Dinosaurs?

Field Station Dinosaurs is located in Secaucus, and I must say, they do an amazing job of taking you back in time.  While there, you certainly don't feel like you're in Secaucus!  They even give you a little "passport"type book that you can get stamped along the way, as if you're a real paleontologist on an expedition.


It very much feels like you are on an expedition of sorts.  There are tents set up all over, and they really make you feel like you are an explorer on part of the journey.  What will you see here?  I mean, what is it?  People ask me that all the time.  Is it a museum?  Is it a park?  Well, it's kind of like an open-air museum, and kind of like a park.  You walk down gravelly stone paths and there are life-size dinosaurs tucked between the trees.  There are sound effects piped-in, and some of the dinosaurs are animated.


There are interesting facts posted about the dinosaurs and a map you can follow to each section of the experience.  Are the dinosaurs scary?  Maybe, a little bit.  You have to know your child.  If your little one is easily frightened, then maybe this isn't the place for you.  But if you have a dinosaur lover on your hands, then head on over!


What Will I See There?

There are also shows and hands-on experiences for visitors at Field Station, too.  Along the paths you will come upon large tents where you can watch 3D movies, play family games, and participate in workshops.  I have to admit that we did not do any of these.  Each event has a posted time, and our child is only 4.  We didn't feel like he was patient enough to wait around for each event, nor did we think he would want to sit through any of them.  But if you have kids maybe 8 or over, I would recommend trying out the shows, especially if you want to get your money's worth.


One show we did attend was an open-air show about a T-Rex ("Dinosaur Whodunit").  The T-Rex is actually a person in an extremely life-like costume.  You can see their legs but for some reason, the puppet seems awfully real! I kid you not, some children were literally TERRIFIED of this show, screaming and gasping when this mouth full of teeth came near them.  We sat more towards the back so my son didn't seem too scared, but I think he was a little on edge!


There was also a fossil digging experience for kids, and although my son enjoyed this, I think we were all a little confused about what we were digging for.  Were there real fossils hidden in there?  Fake ones?  Our directions were a little unclear, although my son did like taking the shovel and digging in the sand with the other kids.  But we never did find anything under the sand!



What Can I Eat There?

There are food stands in the park, but we didn't eat here so I can't tell you how good they are.  But the choices weren't bad- hamburgers and hot dogs, gourmet popcorn, etc.  We arrived early and left by lunchtime, so I guess we saved some bucks that way.

A rare, blurry appearance on camera by The Jersey Momma!

How Much Does it Cost?

Ticket prices vary depending upon what experience you want to buy.  As of the publication date of this entry,  general admission for adults and children over 1 is $15.  Add on the 3D movie and you're up to $20. You can get various pricing packages so be sure to check their website for details.  Parking is going to cost you an additional $10 (although they call this an "environmental donation").  The prices are somewhat different for this 2015 season, a little bit lower than last year and you now have the option to buy an "anytime" ticket, so you don't have to visit on a specific date.



Is it Worth the Trip?

My son really enjoyed Field Station Dinosaurs.  But remember that our tickets were a gift.  If we had to buy them ourselves, I might have waited a few years until my son was a little older (he was only 4 at the time of our visit).  That's a lot of money to shell out for just a few hours of dinosaur walk-through!  If he were a little older, we would have seen more of the shows, maybe gotten more for our money.  We were only there for a few hours, but you really could spend the whole day here if you experienced everything they have to offer.

Also keep in mind that this park is not going to be open much longer.  Due to changes in land ownership, the 2015 season in Secaucus will be Field Station Dinosaur's last!  Where will the dinos go??  We don't know that yet. Stay tuned to their website for more details.

As I said before, though, if you have dinosaur fans in your home, you need to bring them.  It's a must-see!  I can imagine how exciting this would be for kids who just absolutely love dinosaurs, since the animatronic puppets are so life-like.  The park is open rain or shine, so plan your trip accordingly!

Jersey Momma Tips:

*there's a lot of walking and the venue is all outdoors, so dress accordingly

*we did not have problems with bugs in the Spring but I have read about others being bothered by mosquitoes.  You might want to bring along bug spray just in case.

*you can save money by purchasing tickets online

*Disclaimer:  I was NOT compensated by Field Station Dinosaurs for this review.  I visited and shared my opinion with you 'cause that's what I do.

**AS OF 2015, FIELD STATION DINOSAURS IN SECAUCUS IS NO LONGER OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. PLEASE SIGN UP FOR THE FIELD STATION DINOSAURS NEWSLETTER ON THEIR WEBSITE TO FIND OUT WHERE THEIR NEW LOCATION WILL BE!**


4 comments:

  1. Pretty lady! Even in the blurry picture, you shine. Loved the review and wish I could be there. Fun place!

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    1. Aw, you are too kind, Rebecca!! Thank you!!

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  2. WORST day of the summer AVOID this shoddy unbelievably unprofessional place at all costs. Dinosaurs barely move at all and make almost no sound. Advertising is deceptive, glossy brochures make it look far, far better than the pathetic reality I regrettably encountered. AVOID, AVOID, AVOID this place or you will regret it as long as you remember the waste of the day. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! With no exxageration this was the worst thing I did in a decade of summers. I took my 13 year old and my 8 year old and they both were quite unhappy at me for taking them. My 6 year old liked it, but for $20 ? I wish I stayed home and watched squirrels run around my yard. I wish I could give it less than one star. They claim 40 live activities ? pshaw.Non entertaining abd non educational. Better programming on TV. Feeding frenzy featuring mighty T Rex ? What a joke! crummiest robots I've ever seen! Lifeless and non realistic. Pathetic.Credentials are useless. Trail map ? Don't need a map to navigate the one sad dusty square where these junk robots are stored. Expedition schedule ? This park invests too much on their brochures and maps to glorify this sad, sad exhibit. Don't be fooled like I was!

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that you had such a negative experience at Field Station Dinosaurs. It's important to note that my article was written about their location in Secaucus, which is now closed. I have NOT visited their new location in Leonia yet, so I can't attest to what they offer or what it's like there. For those planning to visit their new location, be sure to check out their website and Facebook page to read more reviews and see if this is the right destination for you. I appreciate you commenting and telling others about your experience there. Did you talk to anyone at the park to let them know how unhappy you were with your visit?

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