Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mid-Week Mom Tip: Review of The Dinosaur Place in Montville, CT

My friend, Melissa, is a home daycare provider/owner and inventor of  Pick-Ease, a utensil that makes eating fun for children, including picky eaters.  She's also the mom of two young boys and likes to take them on fun-filled field trips. She writes about this trip and other topics of interest to parents on her Pick-Ease blog, so you can check them out at  I'm sharing her review of their recent trip to The Dinosaur Place in Montville, CT below:
The Dinosaur Place
This Summer, my family visited The Dinosaur Place for the very first time. The Dinosaur Place is located in Montville, CT, just minutes from Mystic Aquarium. Now, we’ve been to Mystic Aquarium numerous time, but I had never heard of The Dinosaur Place until last year. If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it! What an amazing day trip that’s fun for the whole family! 

The Dinosaur Place

At The Dinosaur Place you will find over 40 Life-Sized Dinosaurs on 1.5 miles of nature trails. You’ll also enjoy playing in Monty’s Dino-sized playground, finding your way through the A “Maze” asaurus, bouncing in the Jurassic Moon Bounce, splashing in New England’s largest splashpad, and much more!

Monty’s Dino-Sized Playground

When entering the The Dinosaur Place you will first see Monty’s Dino-Sized Playground. I love that the playground was designed for children of all ages. There are multiple Jungle Gyms of varying difficulties throughout Monty’s Playground, including a separate toddler-sized play area for little ones! My boys especially loved climbing on and through the 3 foot tall Pachyrhinosaurus (thick-nosed lizard) skull!
The Dinosaur Place
The Dinosaur Place is also home to New England’s largest Splashpad! Once again, accommodating children of all ages was considered during the design of this splashpad. My youngest son loves water but hates being splashed in the face, so I was very pleased to find that there was an area that he too could enjoy! In the Splashpad area you will find over 30 dinosaur-themed features including dinosaur head water cannons, a dinosaur “ribcage” waterfall, a spitting Stegosaurus, and more! There are also bathrooms and changing areas located right outside the Splashpad. 
The Dinosaur Place

Dinosaur Trails

Once again, at The Dinosaur Place you will find over 40 Life-Sized Dinosaurs on 1.5 miles of nature trails. To enter the Dinosaur Trails, you will walk under the belly of a life-sized Brachiosaurus. This dinosaur is 75 feet long and 40 feet tall! Walking through the Dinosaur Trails truly was an amazing experience for all of us. I had never seen anything like it before. The kids really loved exploring the trails and discovering all of the different types of dinosaurs! They also loved stopping at each of the “What am I?” touch and learn activity boxes located throughout the trails. In these boxes you will discover different objects including dinosaur teeth, seashells and more! Towards the end of the dinosaur trails you will find a life-like interactive animatronic Dilophosaurus hiding in a cave! We had to visit this dinosaur a few times during our visit, as it was a favorite for all of us!  
The Dinosaur Place

Raptor Bay

Upon exiting the Dinosaur Trails, you will come to Raptor Bay which is a seven-acre man-made lake. Along the edge of the lake there is a volcano that “erupts” every hour on the hour. When the volcano erupts you will feel the ground vibrate and see mist spray out of the top.

Jurassic Moon Bounce

The Jurassic Moon Bounce is a great addition to The Dinosaur Place. What kid doesn’t love jumping in a bouncy house? 
The Dinosaur Place

A “Maze” asaurus

If you go towards the right, upon entering the dinosaur trails, you will come to the A “Maze” asaurus. This is a large maze with lots of twists and turns than you have find your way though. I love that maze is raised so you can see your little one’s feet, making it easier to find them if they get lost! To exit the maze you will slide through the mouth of a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex!
The Dinosaur Place

Discovery Depot

The Dinosaur PlaceEverything I’ve listed above is included in the admission to The Dinosaur Place, and it’s more than enough fun to fill your day, but if you’re up for a little more adventure, stop by the Discovery Depot, located right next door! For an additional fee, at the Discovery Depot you can mine for gems, pan for gold, and dig for dinosaur bones! Some of these activities are only done at certain hours of the day so be sure to check for times on the big board located in The Dinosaur Place gift shop, where you also purchase tickets to The Dinosaur Place.

The Bone Zone

The Dinosaur PlaceIn The Bone Zone your child will work along side other children to uncover the skeleton of a dinosaur. Dr. Bonz teaches the children a bit about paleontologists, and walks them through the proper techniques for digging for dinosaur bones. After about 15 minutes of digging, Dr. Bonz will talk a bit more about the dinosaur that was uncovered. She will then hand each child a small case with 5 real fossils in it. The fossils alone made this activity worth the price, and the kids had lots of fun digging in the sand! 
The Dinosaur Place

Jackpot Mine

The Jackpot Mine is Southeastern Connecticut’s only replica silver mine. Before you enter, you will be given a souvenir bucket to place whatever your find in. In the mine your child will dig with their hands to try find over 50 kinds of real gemstones, crystals and minerals. Best of all, you get keep everything you find! This was definitely one of my favorite parts of our trip. Just beware that you are not allowed to help your child dig, so if your child is on the younger side and will require help, make sure you purchase a ticket for yourself too!
The Dinosaur Place

Thunder Creek 

Unfortunately, we didn’t participate in the Thunder Creek activity. After an extremely long day, our kids were just too tired to keep going, but this is definitely on our to-do list for next year! At Thunder Creek your child will be given a souvenir pouch to keep all of the “fools gold” they find while panning for gold!

What’s to Eat?

Inside The Dinosaur Place, you can grab some food at Monty’s Munchies, located next to the Splashpad. There you can get traditional concession foods – burgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, etc. Although the food was good, the wait was extremely long, so I would recommend you pack your own lunch. This has nothing to do with the servers, as they were working as hard as they could. There were just so many people ordering, that they couldn’t keep up with it.
Another food option would be to eat at the Cobalt Cafe, located in The Shops at Nature’s Art Village. We didn’t visit this restaurant but from their website, I see that they offer a bit more than Monty’s Munchies.
Lastly, there is an ice cream shop at The Dinosaur Place which is the perfect way to end an amazing day! On top of ice cream, they also offer Root Beer Floats and other beverages


Don’t forget your bug spray and sun block! Also, bring lots of water and wear comfortable shoes!
Mid-Week Mom Tip: Review of The Dinosaur Place in Montville, CTSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The NEW Tiverton Library - Children's Section

Teacher and Kiddo Rating:  * * * *  (out of 4)

I finally had a chance to visit the newly opened library in Tiverton, RI with two of my kindergarten-aged friends on our last day of school field trip.   I managed to capture some photos with my basic cell phone camera, but the photos don't do it justice.  The children's area of the library is clean, bright, and colorful with many places to explore and lots of comfy seating for adults and children.  Even though we spent almost two full hours there on our way to the beach, the kiddos really wanted to spend more time trying out everything there was to do.

Design in Motion Velcro-Type Activity

Soft, Vinyl Blocks with Velcro-Type Attachments

Also impressive, were the additional spaces geared toward toddlers and infants.  With plenty of space to crawl/walk around as toddlers like to do, the library makes use of wall space for interactive Velcro-type activities and a long desk area with toddler-sized chairs to work on puzzles or a computer.  Plenty of larger computers are available for older children in a separate, partitioned circular area (not photographed).

Crawling Infants Area with Rocking Chairs 

Toddler-Sized Desk Area with Puzzles and Computer
Stuffed Book Characters

Velcro-Type Activity and Knob Puzzles
Magnet Activity

Dry-Erase Table
The children's special event or story time area (I'm guessing, as we spied some big books on an easel and puppets in the corner) is still a work in progress.  A sign on the door stated that children were allowed in with adult supervision.  

Behind swinging glass doors, separated by a blue and lime green wall with circular port-hole windows, is a room filled with small tables and chairs (future crafts possibly) and bins with some quiet, construction/manipulative toys such as Duplo-type blocks and large foam blocks.

The projector hanging from the ceiling, spotlights facing the opposite wall, and stacked seating cushions all hint at the fun events to come!  

Story Time / Event Room

Foam Blocks in Event Room
Ball Maze in Event Room

My little friend wanted a photo of the bright and cheery restroom (one of two for families right in the Children's Area).

My personal favorite on the adult side of the library -- outdoor balcony with tables/chairs.  

More Info:

Tiverton Public Library in Rhode Island


34 Roosevelt Avenue
Tiverton, RI  02878



Monday - Thursday 10 AM - 8 PM; Friday 10 AM - 5 PM; Saturday 10 AM - 4 PM; Closed Sundays

Restroom Information:  

Two clean, bright family restrooms are available in the children's area, apart from the main library. They contain flip-down changing stations for diapers; auto-flush toilets, and motion-activated soap dispensers; water faucets, and hand dryer.  :)

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Cool New Keyboard for Preschoolers and Awesome Websites to Try!

Over the summer I've been working on meeting requirements to open a licensed family childcare program in my home.  I'm so excited to begin this new venture, called Teacher's Pet Pre-K!  If you get a chance, visit my Facebook page and check it out!  I just posted about my new keyboard, and wanted to share it here as well. 

It's called the FunkeyBoard, and I purchased it from Amazon for $39.  I love it!  It's a color-coded computer keyboard geared towards helping children distinguish between vowels, consonants, numbers, function keys, and punctuation/symbols.  Even the little mouse is color-coded to help children learn how to right/left click and scroll!

My only pet peeve about having computers available for young children in schools is that they are often just plunked down in front of the screen with a game loaded up to play by themselves.  Are they learning anything?  Maybe, but not usually. 

The specific sites listed below will require minimum instruction for youngsters, yet will allow them true independence once they know what to do and how to use the tools (keyboard and mouse).  Best of all, these activities are easy and actually educational!  They reinforce valuable Pre-K and K literacy, language, and writing skills.  Everyone wins!

My favorite of all time is Storyline Online.  Children can watch, listen, and read along (if they have a copy) to classic books read by Betty White, Elijah Wood, James Earl Jones, and other members of the Screen Actor's Guild.

Next, children can practice writing the alphabet on an online writing pad and watch demonstrations by a cute spider on how to form the letters at: MeddyBemps.

Two other favorites (although there are many more) are found at the same site, ABCya:

Upper and Lowercase Letter Matching  

Alphabet Bingo

I hope you and your little one enjoy these activities! 

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