As soon as you enter the gates of Field Station: Dinosaurs the nearby modern world melts away and you step back in time, into New Jersey’s own Jurassic Park.
Within walking distance of Secaucus train station and right off exit 15X of the New Jersey Turnpike, the 20 acre complex quickly makes you forget you are a stone’s throw away from two major cities, highways and an airport. Entry is $25 for adults, and $20 for children and seniors, with a special $54 season pass also available. The quality of the exhibitions and educational demonstrations make it a great way to spend a few hours with the kids, although adults will be equally impressed.
Recreated campsites near the Base Camp entrance build the suspense for the world you will soon see inside the park. The windy pathways give a feeling of exploration to the visitor, and an element of surprise for the creatures one will encounter along the way.
The dinosaurs themselves are about as lifelike as one can hope, with built-in mechanics allowing some movement, and audio depicting the sounds they would have made. The true to life size however, is the most impressive aspect, and puts our own smaller scale into clear perspective. The park features the largest animated dinosaur ever made, and some of them respond to sound and can focus their eyes on observers.
Signs explain the names of each dinosaur and where they would have lived, but don’t go into enough detail, leaving out their diet, lifespan, and other important facts about their lives that would add to the educational experience. Several presentation areas are disbursed throughout the park and regular shows are given. The interactive outdoor classrooms present shows such as the Dinosaur Meet and Greet, Fossil Dig Site, T-Rex Feeding Frenzy, Found in New Jersey, Raptor Feud, and Avian Dinosaurs. The shows are entertaining and make learning fun for kids.
Over twenty dinosaur display sites can be seen throughout the park, in areas with safari type names like The Quarry, The Fire Pit, The Lookout, The Plateau, Geologist Outpost, and Environmental Scientist Outpost. The Lookout area is particularly impressive as it features all the larger dinosaur species and has views of the Manhattan skyline from the Ornithologist Outpost. Some areas feature smaller raptors that kids are left to discover hidden in foliage, on rocks, or even caged up on the back of a truck.
Construction is still ongoing in some locations, but the overall effect is an exciting, intriguing, and adventure filled journey into the pre-historic world of dinosaurs. Well worth a visit.
Go to their website at www.fieldstationdinosaurs.com to learn more about hours, directions, and to plan your visit.