Let me just start off by saying, I love dinosaurs. You could say I’m a dino fanatic. So naturally, I jumped at the chance to check out Jurassic Quest when it arrived in Lido Beach on Long Island. Right off the bat, it’s got everything a dinosaur connoisseur could want in a fun fall afternoon romp:
Seventy life-sized dinosaurs? ✔
Educational and informative? ✔
Seated enjoyment/no “My feet are tired!” complaints? ✔
Social distancing made easy? ✔
Jurassic Quest is a drive-through dinosaur wonderland. Some of the dinos are animatronic, and others are still. The entire family stays in the car throughout the experience (you’re not allowed to get out), as you slowly drive through the winding pathways marked by cones in a very large parking lot. We went on a Sunday afternoon, and while we only waited about 10 minutes to get in, there was a nonstop line of cars throughout the venue the entire time we were there. Our adventure lasted about an hour from start to finish.
When you first arrive at Jurassic Quest, you’re greeted by baby triceratops Trixie who is being cradled by her handler. If you’ve never said “awww” when looking at a dinosaur before, now you will.
Though you are technically driving through the exhibit, it’s really more like you’re really using your brakes the whole time while intermittently coasting. There are many benefits to moving so slowly, and let it be known that despite an hour-long crawl through a parking lot, my kids (Lena, 11 and Henry, 7) did not complain once that they were bored, and believe me, they would tell me if they were.
Here’s why moving so incredibly slowly is great:
- There’s no rush to see the dinos and move along. You can see the dinosaurs as you approach them, pause at the scene to take in the details, and once you pass them, it’s not long before you get to the next “station.”
- Safety. I don’t think there was one child wearing a seatbelt during this event. Kids were leaning out of car windows, poking out of sunroofs, swapping seats to get another view, etc. I even saw a baby on a driver’s lap. I am all about car safety, but let me just say at this snail’s pace, it really is fine.
- You get your money’s worth! An hour-long dinosaur tour in the comfort of your own vehicle for about 50 bucks is a pretty sweet deal. If you saw these dinos at a live show (and I have!) you’d be paying a lot more to see these magnificent beasts.
TIPS FOR THE BEST JURASSIC QUEST EXPERIENCE
- Bring snacks. Kids like to eat while they’re at a show and this is no exception. It’s an experience!
- Snap the QR code when you first arrive to open up the guided tour. Without the guided tour you lose not only the educational value, but a lot of the fun and excitement as well. The guides have a running narrative (watch out for the escaped T. rex!) which keeps up the entertainment level, but also provides a lot of very cool facts about each dinosaur as you approach.
- Use the bathroom before you leave home.
- Bring dinosaur toys if you think your kids would like to have them along for the ride. Heads up: There is a souvenir tent that you have to drive through at the end and I’m sure every child will be begging for a sword or a balloon, etc.
- There is a family photo opp at the very end, where a Jurassic Quest employee will snap a photo of your family in the car in front of some dinos, so be ready for that. They will use their own camera and text the photo to you a little while later.
Overall, I think Jurassic Quest is a must-do experience for dinosaur fans, or anyone looking to do something outside of the ordinary while still being able to follow social distancing guidelines. If I had one critique, it would be that the scenes could have been more fully developed. Most of the dinosaurs were posed along with some fake grass, and adding more to the scenery would have gone a long way to creating a storyline and making visitors less aware that they’re in a parking lot. Would I do this again? Yes!