We're no strangers to Kenosha. We've been to the public museum, we've taken streetcar rides, we shop at Tenuta's. But we'd never seen the Dinosaur Discovery Museum before, so over the holiday break, I loaded the kids into the car and after the mandatory Tenuta's stop, we headed straight over.
The museum is located in the former public museum building at 5608 Tenth Avenue, right in the heart of the Civic Center, on the square that looks like a mini Washington, D.C., with its classical municipal buildings. The Dinosaur Discovery Museum home was built to house the Kenosha Post Office, which is in a bigger place now directly across the square.
The building itself is beautiful, with a gorgeous vaulted ceiling in the lobby and a classic museum exhibit hall, albeit a small one.
In the main gallery, the exhibit of dinosaur skeletons (casts rather than real bones, but that's OK) focuses on the link between birds and carnivorous dinos; it's the only museum that has such a focus. You can see Harpy Eagle hanging with Deinocheirus; Eoraptor and Herrerasaurus; Ceratosaurus and Carnotaurus; and more.
Curators have done a great job of working with the space restrictions putting a lot of dinosaurs on display for such a compact room. The effect is quite breathtaking.
Downstairs, there's a classroom with activities that my little ones enjoyed: coloring sheets of dinosaurs, books, some plush dino puzzles. A giant glass window offers a view of the Carthage Institute of Paleontology's on-site research lab. Unfortunately, no work was being conducted in the lab when we were there.
Admission to the museum is free and there's a small free parking lot just behind the building. But unless your kids are super incredibly marvelously dinosaur-crazy addicted, you won't likely spend more than 30-45 minutes in the museum. So, combine it with a visit to the nearby Kenosha Public Museum, Civil War Museum, a streetcar ride or something else.
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