“Mommy, where’s my dinosaur hat?” August, my 6-year-old, was chomping at the bit to go to opening day at Dino Roar Valley, and he knew exactly what he wanted to wear for our expedition. In the spirit of the occasion, Will, my 9-year-old, was sporting his fav T-rex shirt.
Just a 30-minute drive north of Saratoga Springs, Dino Roar Valley is the cool new “edutainment” attraction at Lake George Expedition Park, which also is home to the Magic Forest amusement park (yes, if you’re a local, it’s the place you went as a kid and maybe knew as Storytown USA).
Travel Back in Time at Dino Roar Valley!
Dino Roar Valley’s ½ mile paved walking trail features 20 real life-size dinosaurs (12 species) that move—swishing their tails, moving their heads and mouths…even “breathing”—and make dinosaur noises…or at least the noises that paleontologists THINK they would have made. 😉
Our tour began at Expedition Basecamp, where we were introduced to 10-year-old Jr. Paleontologist Simon, who not only starred in the short safety video, but also accompanied us on our tour, in addition to some other adult guides.
The freshly paved trail offered a nice, shady walk through the woods with just a few gentle hills. Navigating the trail with a stroller would be a cinch, and the tree cover should keep the area cool even on hot summer days. The park does offer 6-passenger golf carts to assist those with mobility issues.
One of the first species we encountered on our expedition was the Spinosaurus, which August said was his favorite dinosaur on the tour. (“Obviously, Mommy…it’s ALWAYS been my favorite!” Oh.) Will enjoyed reading about each dino on the brightly colored, educational placards, which share the creature’s name, approximate weight and size, what it ate, when and where it lived, and some fun facts about the species.
The T. Rex was another fan-favorite of the day. Positioned in a confrontation with its nemesis, Stegosaurus, T. Rex roared and swished his tail. I checked in with 6-year-old August on the “scariness” of one of history’s fiercest predators. “It’s not scary, Mommy…it’s awesome!”
I’d agree—this is no heart-stopping Hollywood thriller. None of the dinosaurs seemed to be “threatening” passersby in any way: the creatures are far enough off the trail, their movements are fairly contained, and their noises are not overly loud. Unless you have a particularly sensitive child, the fear factor is extremely low.
If bigger is better, Dino Roar Valley definitely saves the best for last. Rounding a bend toward the end of the expedition, you happen upon Titanosaurus, one of the largest animals to ever walk the Earth. Looming above at 38 feet tall and 165 feet long, Titanosaurus was Will’s fav of the day. He noted: “I liked how it towered over my head!” And August observed that its unique round-shaped eggs looked like chocolate candy. (*shrug*)
Speaking of food…food and beverage carts are scattered along the trail, and your ticket to Dino Roar Valley also allows you to go into the adjacent Magic Forest to get food and even enjoy that park’s shows. However, if you want to do the Magic Forest rides, you’ll need to buy a ticket to that park too.
As for the bathroom sitch, portable bathrooms are located about half-way through the Dino Roar Valley trail.
In addition to the 20 animatronic dinosaurs, Dino Roar Valley included a few other activities with the price of a regular ticket:
- The Dino Nest play area features a climbing rope “nest,” some large “eggs” the kiddos can crawl into, and giant mushrooms to climb on (also some nice benches for us adult dinos to take a load off for a few minutes). August really enjoyed conquering the rope nest.
- The Fossil Dig Site included two HUGE tent-covered sandboxes, where aspiring paleontologists can try to unearth dinosaur bones. Each sandbox contains three large skeletons, and shovels and brushes were provided. “The digging was REALLY cool,” said Will; I think he would have played there all day if he could have, and August liked it too.
- Roary’s Stage is an amphitheater where shows are put on throughout the day, including Roary’s Dino Tale, a comical, but educational, history of dinosaurs starring Roary the Raptor.
For an additional fee, Dino Roar Valley visitors also can purchase 30-minute workshop packages such as the Fixers Build & Play Workshop, where participants get to build their own take-home fossil, or Diggin’ Up Dinos, where explorers chisel away at a take-home fossil. They also offer Dino-Riffic Breakfastsat an extra cost, where dino-enthusiasts get to have breakfast with Roary the Raptor and explore the park.
Want to have a birthday party or other private event at Dino Roar Valley? Their Dino Outpost has you covered! This brand-new building can hold anywhere from 10 to 50 people and has two party rooms (plus a couple of dinosaur-themed video games!). Party packages include admission to Dino Roar Valley, pizza, soda, cake, and all paper products. Call 518-668-ROAR (7627) or email events@LakeGeorgeExpeditionPark.com for pricing information or to book an event.
All in all, my two kiddos really loved their visit to Dino Roar Valley. It was an enjoyable and educational excursion, a short drive from home. Will and August agreed that there were plenty of things to do and that the moving, roaring creatures were pretty-darn rad. If you’re looking for an easy day trip this summer, Dino Roar Valley is colossally fun!
Tickets for Dino Roar Valley and/or Magic Forest can be purchased at the gate or online in advance (which is cheaper). Click here for pricing.
Rachel Spensieri is a freelance writer and editor based in Saratoga Springs, New York. You can learn more about her at www.rightwordcommunications.com.