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It has been said that the key to our future lies in our past. This family fun day lets you get up close and personal with some of planet Earth’s first inhabitants – dinosaurs.
Dinosaur Grove: Dino Extravaganza at the Miller Nature Preserve
The Miller Nature Preserve is part of the Lorain County Metro Parks. Located in Avon, the preserve is home to the first conservatory in the city. The preserve changes their floral displays regularly, but has permanent exhibits of ferns, desert plants, bromeliads, tropical plants, bonsai, carnivorous plants and more. They also have a free butterfly house that operates during the summer.
But the highlight of this Family Fun Day is their seasonal exhibit – Dinosaur Grove. The display features fossils, artifacts, ferns, puzzles, and even a scavenger hunt. The preserve has added dinosaurs to its collection of plants, so be sure to bring your cameras. (Time to re-enact those moments from Jurassic Park!) In addition to the general operations, the Miller Nature Preserve is having a few special events while the exhibit is on display. (See “Tips” for more information.) My personal pick is “Discovering Fossils” on March 14th.
- The Dinosaur Grove exhibit at the Miller Nature Preserve runs until March 22nd. It is open daily from 10:00am – 6:00pm, but the times of specific programs do vary. See “Tips” for more details.
- Admission to the Miller Nature Preserve is $2 per person. (Children under 42” get in for free!)
- The Miller Nature Preserve is located at 2739 Center Road, Avon, OH 44011.
- If you have any questions about the event, you can call the preserve at 440-937-0764. You can also find more information online at http://www.metroparks.cc/events.php#dinosaur-grove.
- March 1st at 2:30pm – Dinosaur Tour (a guided walk)
- March 5th at 10:15am – Garden Sprouts: Constructosaurus (preschool program)
- March 14th from 10:00am – 5:00pm – Discovering Fossils (a local enthusiasts will educate and display fossils; kids can also play a game to win a fossil)
- March 15th at 1:00pm – Prehistoric Plants (in-depth discussion about plant life)
- March 21st from 2:00 – 3:00pm – Rest In Peat: Extinct Ice Age Animals of Ohio (a naturalist discusses where ice age animals have been found around the Great Lakes)
- March 21st from 3:00 – 4:00pm – Make a Fern Print T-Shirt (bring a t-shirt and make a wearable work of art; additional $2 charge; registration required)
- Ask your children when dinosaurs existed. Describe the time line and talk about the different eras. If your children are too young, explain it to them.
- Did all dinosaurs exist at the same time? Which dinosaurs came first? Did mammals and dinosaurs ever coexist?
- Discuss the difference between carnivores and herbivores. How do you spot the difference? As you see dinosaurs, have your children determine whether it is a meat-eater or a plant-eater and why.
- Dinosaurs had different ways of defending themselves against predators. Talk about how dinosaurs defending themselves – strong jaws, spikes, long tail, etc. Point out how each particular dinosaur in the exhibit defended itself.
- Have your children find their favorite dinosaur in the exhibit. Why is it their favorite?
- Ask your children if they would like to live among the dinosaurs and defend their answer.
- Create a scavenger hunt for your children. When you arrive, ask one of the staff members to tell you the names of plants that existed when the dinosaurs were around. Then, try to identify those plants in the exhibit.
There are plenty of great dinosaur resources around to continue the fun at home. Take a trip to your local library and look up books about dinosaurs. Encourage a non-fiction book along with fiction books to help establish fact from fiction. You can always sit through “The Land Before Time” with your younger ones. Your teens will probably enjoy “Jurassic Park” and you can even plan an outing to go see the “Jurassic World” in theaters this summer.
Have fun at the exhibit, but remember…it’s a jungle in there!
Photo Copyright: Bonzar, Eric. 2015. Dinosaur Grove at the Miller Nature Preserve, Avon. Morning Journal. Web. 25 Feb. 2015. <http://media.morningjournal.com/2015/02/21/photos-dinosaur-grove-display-at-the-miller-nature-preserve-avon-ohio-feb-21-2015/#3>.