October 13, 2008

Wow, Did The Kid Love Digging Up This Fake Dinosaur Skeleton


Somewhere in the past few years, a farmer in the city my in-laws retired to, St. George, Utah, found a motherlode of super-detailed dinosaur tracks and fossils, and they built an entire museum around them. Just like that.

So we added the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm to the kid's itinerary [which is a roundabout way of saying we sent her off to see the dinosaurs with my wife's stepmother.] I'm sure it was great; the website makes it sound very important.

But what blew the kid away was some random little gift shop tchotchke: a dinosaur skeleton excavaction kit from a scientific tchotchke dealer called GeoCentral. It's basically a resin dinosaur skeleton buried in a block of mud-colored plaster; you have to dig out the pieces using the little wooden chisel and brush. Then you glue the thing together. She. was. thrilled. Dinosaurs, a project, a toy, and sanctioned mess-making, all in one. The fact that she broke a couple of bones while getting them out didn't matter at all; it made it more realistic.

GeoCentral seems to be a wholesale-only joint, and though it doesn't mention it, the price of the GeoCentral dinosaur excavation kits on Amazon make me think you get an entire case. The kid's single kit was $4.


There's at least one other excavation kit maker, though; the Dig It Up! mini excavation kit is actually much bigger than the GeoCentral and seems more scientifically accurate. But it's also rated for kids 8-12, while the GeoCentral says 5yo. You'd have to gauge how much digging your kid could handle before he tosses the brick in the trash.

Check out many GeoCentral excavation kits you get at Amazon for $63 [amazon]
Or buy the Dig it Up Mini Excavation Kit - Triceratops for $13, or 3 for $30 [mindwareonline.com]
St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm [sgcity.org]


For kids who like their archaeology a little more classical: http://www.amazon.com/s/qid=1223907095/ref=sr_nr_seeall_29?ie=UTF8&rs=&keywords=antika&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aantika%2Ci%3Atoys-and-games

The cheaper version of course can be enjoyed by placing your favorite valuable on the edge of a shelf and picking up a tube of Krazy Glue.

Wait, wait. Did those dino footprints have little people footprints inside them, like Sarah Palin promised? I saw it at The Museum of Earth History.

Well, they found them on a pioneer-era farm, so I 'spect they're at least a couple hundred years old.

Funny, I came across this museum yesterday while researching our Southwest trip. According to Lonely Planet, this museum will one day house the greatest dinosaur collection in the world. I can't tell if LP was being sarcastic.

May have to hit St. George next time we are all in Vegas. Is there anything else cool there?

My kids enjoyed this too although I had to show them how to be patient - which I guess can only be a good thing.

We live in Spain and got ours from


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