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Places to Go... Things to Do

1. A Jewel of a Find

At The Dinosaur Place at Nature’s Art, you can dig for crystals and polished stones that are hidden among the gravel. Be the first to see inside a geode (volcanic gas bubble) that is millions of years old. The Minerals and Fossil Gallery has gems from around the world and fossils ranging from 570-million-year-old trilobites (horseshoe crab relatives) to dinosaur bones and footprints. A display of fluorescent mineral specimens features powerful long wave and short wave ultraviolet lights to reveal the minerals’ glow-in-the-dark properties.

On the Dino Trails, you’ll encounter life-sized dinosaur sculptures along 1.5 miles of easy walking trails. Take a family photo under the belly of a 40-foottall Brachiosaurus – the tallest dinosaur ever discovered, large enough to drive a car under. At the seven-acre Raptor Bay, you might feel the vibrations of a rumbling volcano; if the wind is right, you might even get wet. Hug the armored Euoplocephalus if you dare – this dinosaur was covered with bony plates and spikes from head to toe. It even had armor on its eyelids.

Hidden in the mountain laurel along the Connecticut Trail are replicas of creatures that roamed through the state about 230 to 185 million years ago.

Anchisaurus was one of the first dinosaurs discovered in North America. Therizinosaurus, which roamed Asia, had hand claws over three-feet long and the longest fingernails ever found on Earth.

The Dinosaur Place at Nature’s Art, 1650 Hartford-New London Turnpike, Oakdale 860-443-4367 

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