New Jersey’s prehistoric past is littered with dinosaurs.
No dino is more famous in the Garden State than Hadrosaurus foulki. A plant-eater with a duck-shaped bill, Hadrosaurus is the official state dinosaur. It was discovered by William Parker Foulke in Haddonfield in 1858. The find became the globe’s first nearly complete dinosaur skeleton.
Other beasts roamed New Jersey’s land and water, too. Dryptosaurus and Grallator were local to the area, as were a variety of mosasaurs and plesiosaurs. Prehistoric sharks, turtles and crocodiles also shared space with them.
Today, there are all kinds of ways to discover dinosaurs in New Jersey, and more are on the way. The Jean and Ric Edelman Fossil Park of Rowan University, which opens in 2023, will allow visitors of all ages to discover and keep fossils left behind by some of the creatures mentioned above.
In the meantime, there are plenty of terrific places to see primordial creatures in Jersey right now. If you love dinos, then these spots are a sight for saur eyes!
Walk among beasts in Leonia, where Field Station showcases over 30 life-sized, realistic, robotic dinosaurs, as well as live shows and scenic trails. Field Station’s 2022 season begins May 28.
3 Overpeck Park Driveway, Leonia; 855-999-9010
The first nearly complete dinosaur skeleton found in North America was discovered in Haddonfield, and now a sculpture of Haddy, New Jersey’s state dino, serves as a central landmark downtown.
2 King’s Court, Haddonfield; 609-313-6648
This Smithsonian-affiliated museum in Morristown houses a paleontology collection that includes finds like dinosaur bones and an egg from the region. Kids will adore interactive components like dinosaur footprints to follow, a recreation of a nest to climb into, and multiple items to touch.
6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown; 973-971-3700
Everyone in Bayville knows Bud, the dinosaur monument that has been standing outside the Heritage Square Building since the early 1930s.
510 U.S. 9, Bayville; 732-503-9098
This New Brunswick museum is home to a dinosaur trackway and a fully articulated mastodon skeleton that was found in Salem County.
Geology Hall, 2nd Floor, 85 Somerset Street, New Brunswick; 848-932-7243
Children can imagine what it’s like to be a dinosaur newborn at the Dinosaur Garden in Camden, where they can splash around with a life-like baby Hadrosaur.
3 Riverside Drive, Camden; 856-365-8733
Allenwood’s Allaire State Park features a forest teeming with dinosaur sculptures. They were created by Jersey artist Robin Ruggiero, who wanted to give families an extra incentive to get outdoors.
Allaire Group Campground, 4001 Squankum-Allenwood Road, Allenwood; 732-938-2371
Visitors are allowed to search for fossils in Marlboro’s Big Brook, a great place to find Cretaceous-era shark teeth. Rules for hunting and collecting fossils and more details are available here.
521 Route 520, Marlboro; 732-842-4000
Head to Jersey City and dig for dinosaur bones in 60 tons of sand. Then head inside the 300,000-square-foot science center to see a replica woolly mammoth and learn about scientific efforts to bring the creature back from extinction.
Liberty State Park; 222 Jersey City Boulevard, Jersey City; 201-200-1000
This museum’s fossil exhibit introduces visitors to Jersey’s own Dryptosaurus, the first known carnivorous dinosaur.
205 West State Street, Trenton; 609-292-6464
Modern day animals are not the only ones at this Jersey zoo. Visitors can see all sorts of wildlife, from wolves to giraffes to lions, in West Orange before running around the zoo’s dino-themed Prehistoric Playground.
560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange; 973-731-5800