What to Expect at Dinosaurs After Dark at Field Station: Dinosaurs in Leonia, NJ

What to Expect at Dinosaurs After Dark at Field Station: Dinosaurs in Leonia, NJ

The Halloween-themed show premiered for the 2018 season this Sept. 22.

Is your kid obsessed with all things dinosaur? Does she love dino crafts or never stops talking about the last exhibit on prehistoric creatures she saw? If so, you might want to check out Dinosaurs After Dark at Field Station: Dinosaurs in Leonia, NJ. The show features animatronic dinosaurs that tower over guests, games and workshops perfect for all ages, and a show with singing, puppets, and plenty of audience participation. If you’re thinking of going, here’s what you’ll need to know.

First and foremost, this event is outdoors at night near a body of water. As a result, the area is filled with mosquitos. You’ll want to make sure that you and your little ones have adequate bug spray to prevent mosquito bites. It can also be muddy and slippery on the trails, so be prepared with rain boots or shoes with good traction.

Secondly, the show starts promptly at 7pm and lasts the entire 2½-hours. Though it’s on weekends only, children with earlier bedtimes might not be well suited for the event. And plan to make this event the centerpiece of your Saturday night; I overheard an exasperated parent say, “it’s never-ending” at one point.

Lastly, tickets sell out fast, so you’ll want to buy yours ahead of time. You can purchase tickets for Dinosaurs After Dark online, or show up at 6:45pm for ticket sales as soon as doors open.

Once you’re settled in a Field Station: Dinosaur, the show starts with an interesting premise: There’s a baby T. rex loose in the fields and your kids have to sleuth it out. With footprints, missing dinos, and a distraught wrangler, the mystery unfolds while your little ones as the lead detectives. Where did that T. rex go? Who will find it? Who will fall victim to it? It’s a story that’s spooky enough for the season, but just right for the youngest of your bunch to be surprised, but not terrified. There are some jump scares, but nothing to give your kids nightmares.

While your searching for the T. rex you can take an educational tour of the animatronic dinosaurs and marvel at their size and sounds. Afterward, enjoy a T. rex self-defense workshop, in which you employ the same defense methods as prehistoric prey, including using a tail to fend of inflatable dinosaurs, and see a musical performance that had me genuinely impressed (I studied theater for eight years, and found the show to be cute, well done, and full of great energy). There was even an adorable dinosaur puppet that kids can pet afterward. Most of the staff has a background in musical theater performance, be that through studying acting in college or touring with children’s performance groups. Once the musical number concludes, families can sit around a campfire and nosh on s’mores and hot cocoa, and take photos with the very same T. rex that was on the loose earlier.