They have been extinct for millions of years, but that doesn’t stop people having a fascination with dinosaurs.
Dino fans will rushing to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, as it hits cinemas in the UK on 6 June, but before they can then take a trip to Scotland to explore its many paleontological links and prehistoric plants!
Among Scotland’s prehistoric discoveries, the Isle of Skye has unearthed many fascinating finds, including rare dinosaur prints from the world’s largest dinosaur, the sauropod (which is said to have been 15 metres tall – over twice the size of the famous Tyrannosaurus rex!).
Scotland is home to a life-size skeleton cast of a T.rex at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Also, in Glasgow the Hunterian Museum will delight dino hunters with Scotland’s first dinosaur footprint; as well as the city’s Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery which has various fossils on display.
The journey doesn’t end there: from hunting dinosaurs, to digging for fossils, read on for more suggestions and get planning for a journey back in time….
Staffin Dinosaur Museum, Portree, Isle of Skye IV51 9JE.
Around 170 million years ago, shortly after the supercontinent Pangaea began to break up, the land that is now Skye was part of a smaller subtropical island, far closer to the equator; replete with beaches, rivers and lagoons. Now famous for the Quiraing and the Fairy Pools, visitors can explore traces of dinosaurs on the island of Skye, including the sight of 50 recently discovered tracks, some as big as a car tyre, from dinosaurs that roamed the island during the middle Jurassic period. The sauropod tracks are located on Staffin beach. This builds upon the discovery of other dinosaur footprints back in 2015.
It is recommended that visitors begin the journey at the Staffin Dinosaur Museum, which offers daily guided tours of the footprint sites, priced at £2 for adults and £1 for children. Please note that access to the footprints on the beach depends on time of day and tides, so consult with the museum before travelling. See for more details and advice on visiting.
Hetland Garden Centre, Carrutherstown, Dumfries DG1 4JX.
Ever wanted to come face-to-face with a ‘real’ dinosaur? Dino Park is a year-round attraction for children of all ages (and the young at heart) with realistic-looking replicas of the beasts that once walked the earth. Come along and take a tour of the park, head through the Dino Mine, hear a story in the Dino Den, and not forgetting a snack in the Dino Bite. Dino Dig also offers young aspiring Dr Alan Grants the chance to dig for replica dinosaur fossils and bones.
Dino Park is situated just off the A75 – seven miles from Dumfries at Carrutherstown. Prices started from £2.50.
Until 24 June 2018; 78 George St, Perth PH1 5LB.
Playing with Dinosaurs is a fun-packed, interactive gallery which takes visitors on a journey to discover and play with dinosaurs. Games and activities create exploration, uncovering fossils, bones and clues – giving a fascinating glimpse into the world of dinosaurs. Best of all, it’s free! There will also be adults-only Dino Nights (with a silent disco) and scheduled talks with a dinosaur expert.
Airth, Shetland ZE2 9NB.
A popular picnic spot located in the village of Airth, the woodland area was developed in memory of Michael Ferrie, a young musician from the village who passed away from cancer in 1996. The area is a vibrant place with many interesting and enchanting features to entertain, educate and excite. The Dinosaur Trail consists of life-sized dinosaurs living out their Jurassic existence among the trees. Visitors can read all about them from storyboards, developed by pupils from local schools. Look out for the Stegosaurus, Brontosaurus and the sabre toothed tiger.
Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF.
The cast of the T.rex at the National Museum of Scotland has been taken from one of the most complete T.rex specimens in the world, which is held in the Museum of the Rockies in Montana, USA. It forms the centrepiece of the Animal World, a spectacular array of creatures from the past and the present day, including a great white shark, a hippo and a Triceratops skull. Peering out into the Museum’s Grand Gallery, the T.rex draws people through into the six Natural World galleries, which tell the story of the formation of the earth and evolution of life on this planet. Free to visit.
Balnagowan Woods, Ardersier, Inverness IV2 7QX.
Bowhunter Archery offers a range of outdoor archery activities, including the chance to ‘hunt’ dinosaurs, zombies and dragons in their 3D target area. Suitable for everyone aged 8 and above, it offers a fun day out for the family or for groups of friends, all in the great outdoors. Sessions start from one hour and include tuition and equipment. Prices from £13 per person.
Carsaig Bay, Carsaig, PA70 6HD.
Venture through the rugged coastline of Mull, to find the beautifully hidden cove of Carsaig Bay on the south of the island, to find traces of Jurassic activity. On a rocky platform east of Carsaig Pier and accessible by a track, there are considerable number of ammonite casts, some fairly large. Ammonites (marine molluscs) which are now extinct were found at a time when the dinosaurs roamed the land. Look closely at the rock formations further west within the bay and see that the beach is littered with examples of extinct Gryphaea (Oyster type mollusks) as well as Belemnites. Access to some parts of the shore and rocks is dependent on the time of day and the tides.
Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, University Avenue, Glasgow G12 8QQ.
Kelvingrove Museum & Art Gallery, Argyle Street, Glasgow G3 8AG.
Dino fanatics should definitely trek to the Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow, if only to see Scotland’s first dinosaur print, along with other dinosaur bones, including the Bearsden Shark. There is also a full size plesiosaur on display. In addition, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum showcases a multitude of dino relics in its Creatures of the Past Gallery. The museum has 8,000 objects and dinosaur and fossil lovers will be pleased to know the collection includes a 2.6 metre skeleton of Stenopterygius, crocodilian remains and an almost complete shell of a Jurassic turtle.