A child looking at an exhibition at The Dinosaur Museum.
Dorset
South West England
England
United Kingdom
Dorset
South West England
England
United Kingdom

The Dinosaur Museum

Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.

Government Guidelines
  • Dorchester's Dinosaur Museum was established back in 1984 and has since won numerous family accolades such as Dorset's Family Attraction of the Year.
  • It was founded as the first museum in Great Britain solely dedicated to the prehistoric study and celebration of dinosaurs.
  • Families can experience the dinosaur world up close with life-size reconstructed models, a staggering dinosaur skeleton, tons of fascinating fossils and mesmerising interactive displays that will transport your right back to the prehistoric era.
  • This independent museum sees regular return visits from those who grew up with their dinosaur exhibits and has featured on many popular children's TV shows such as The Tweenies, Blue Peter and The Really Wild Show.

Within an old Victorian schoolhouse, families can travel back in time and walk among dinosaurs at Dorchester's thrilling Dinosaur Museum. With ingenious reconstructions, giant skeletons, hands-on exhibits and plenty of prehistoric facts, The Dinosaur Museum is one of the best things to do in Dorchester with dino-mad kids.

For nearly forty years, The Dinosaur Museum has been wowing families far and wide with its innovative exhibitions and expertly curated knowledge. In their Jurassic Dorset displays, kids can immerse themselves in the world of their favourite dinosaurs as sounds and even smells of the prehistoric come to life around them. This innovative museum uses a combination of real dinosaur relics and special skeletal casts, which are mounted over the fossils to preserve their original structures and scientific value. Fossil pioneers including Mary Anning and Richard Owe will help you discover the heritage of Dorset's Jurassic Coast with these real-life dinosaur fossils which you are invited to touch and feel as well as marvel at from afar. Kids will love exploring the skeleton heads, colourful eggs, terrifying teeth and even dinosaur poop relics on display at the museum!

A child at The Dinosaur Museum's excavation pit exhibit.

Elsewhere in the exhibition, visitors can walk in awe through the epic dinosaur skeletons and huge reconstructed models throughout the venue, including the infamous T-Rex and Stegosaurus, the museum's biggest dinosaurs. There is plenty of hands-on learning to be had at The Dinosaur Museum too with interactive iPad games, prehistoric puzzles, a captivating excavation pit and thrilling 'feely box' exhibit for curious hands to explore - if they dare! The Dinosaur Museum is dedicated to making your family visit as fun and fascinating experience as possible and also offers plenty of free activity sheets to complete whilst you're there, giving kids the chance to win a 'Dino Hunters' medal. Be sure to visit The Dinosaur Museum's fabulous gift shop too to pick up your very own fossils, models, books and more.

The Dinosaur Museum has helped introduce new exhibition ideas to museums across the United Kingdom, with some of the very first interactive computer displays on offer and their pioneering 'feely box' technique which has been exhilarating audiences ever since. This imaginative Dorchester museum provides one of the best days out in Dorset for families that is both educational and truly exciting, giving kids the chance to learn all about the world of dinosaurs and this historic corner of the Jurassic Coast. Situated just seven miles from The Dinosaur Museum, the Jurassic Coast covers the whole Dorset and East Devon's scenic coastline and has been named as World Heritage Site.

Within the old southwestern town of Dorchester, there is plenty more history to uncover near to The Dinosaur Museum along Icen Way, such as the Roman Town House, the Terracotta Warrior Museum and the acclaimed Tutankhamun Exhibition. Or, if you'd prefer a visit to something a bit more alive and kicking, why not head to Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre - a much-loved spot for animal-mad families in Dorset.

What to know before you go

  • The Dinosaur Museum Dorchester opening times are 10am to 4pm in winter or 10am to 5pm during the main summer season (from April to September).
  • Children under the age of three go free.
  • You should allow at least an hour to an hour and a half for your visit.
  • There are toilets on-site.
  • The Dinosaur Museum doesn't have its own on-site café, but there are plenty of family-friendly eateries nearby such as The Walnut Grove, the Royal Oak, Lower Burton's Sun Inn or the Saxon Arms in Stratton.
  • The museum has a great gift shop on-site offering collectable dinosaur models, puzzles, toys, gifts, DVDs, posters and more.
  • Most exhibit displays in the museum are positioned at a lower level wheelchair height.
  • There is a ramp available if you require step-free access into the building and the ground floor exhibits are fully accessible. However, there is no lift inside the venue so unfortunately the upper floor is not accessible for wheelchair users or buggies (it is up a set of 16 steps).
  • There are no designated accessible toilets on-site, but these can be found 200 metres away at the Waitrose car park entrance on Charles Street.
  • Assistance dogs are welcome in all areas of The Dinosaur Museum.
  • Reduced ticket rates are available for those with disabilities and their carers.
  • The Dinosaur Museum hosts regular events throughout the year such as Easter egg hunts, Jurassic Trails and DNA expeditions.

Getting there

  • The Dinosaur Museum is located in Icen Way Dorchester, Dorset, not far from High East Street.
  • If travelling via car, Dorchester is on the A35 and can be reached via the M27, M3 and M5.
  • The nearest car park is Durngate Street, just 25-metres away, but unfortunately there are no accessible parking spots here. There are also many more car parks in the town centre, just a five-minute walk to The Dinosaur Museum, or Fairfield car park is a 10-15 minute walk away.
  • The closest Train Stations are Dorchester South, which services lines from London to Weymouth, and Dorchester West Station which has routes via Bristol. Both stations are a 15-minute walk to the museum.
  • The Museum bus stop on the B3150 services the routes 2, 5, 6, 10, 10A, 187, 701, 752, C2, X11, X12 and X51.
  • There are good bus services from Weymouth, Yeovile, Bridport, Blandford, Lyme Regis and Axminster to Dorchester as well as National Express coach links to most major cities.

Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.

Government Guidelines
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