Martinsville, Virginia


Dino Festival returns to VMNH Friday, July 26 & Saturday, July 27

By: Virginia Museum of Natural History

July 9, 2024

Entertainment, Family Fun, History

It's a 2-day dinosaur extravaganza, featuring life size-cast skeletons of some of the most iconic creatures of the Mesozoic Era, an extraordinary variety of dinosaur fossils, engaging dino-themed activities and crafts, animatronic dinosaur displays, and the opportunity to interact with expert paleontologists!

Dino Festival take place at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville on Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27, 2024 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day!

Life-size Cast Skeletons & Skulls!

Dino Festival features an incredible array of dinosaur skeletons and skulls, including:

A large, plant-eating dinosaur - distinguishable by its large frill and three horns - that lived during the Late Cretaceous period, from approximately 68 to 66 million years ago.

A large, plant-eating dinosaur distinguishable by two rows of bony plates on its back. It lived during the Late Jurassic period, from approximately 155 to 150 million years ago

A massive, carnivorous, theropod dinosaur that existed in what is now North America during the Early Cretaceous period, from approximately 125 million to 100 million years ago

A large, carnivorous theropod dinosaur of the Late Jurassic period, from approximately 155 to 150 million years ago

An herbivore dinosaur that lived during the Early Cretaceous period from approximately 120 to 110 million years ago

Platecarpus Tympaniticus:
A 17-foot-long cast skeleton of a massive sea-going reptile that lived 84 to 81 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. This animal, a species of mosasaur, once swam in waters that covered what is now the central United States!

Tyrannosaurus rex (skull):
One of the most iconic dinosaurs of all time, T. rex was a large carnivorous dinosaur that lived in what is now western North America approximately 68 to 66 million years ago

Dromaeosaurus (skull):
A medium-sized carnivorous dinosaur and a very close relative of the famous Velociraptor that lived in what is now the western United States and Alberta, Canada during the Late Cretaceous from approximately 77 to 74 million years ago

Albertosaurus (skull):
A genus of tyrannosaurid theropod dinosaurs that lived in western North America during the Late Cretaceous Period, from approximately 70 million years ago

Edmontosaurus (skull):
A genus of duck-billed dinosaur that lived in western North America during the Cretaceous Period approximately 73 to 66 million years ago

Dunkleosteus (skull):
An armored fish from a group of fish called placoderms that lived approximately 380 to 360 million years ago

Tylosaurus (skull):
A gigantic, sea-going relative of lizards, Tylosaurus was one of the biggest ocean predators ever to live. With a skull almost six feet long, a body over forty feet, and a mouth full of pointed teeth, it could pretty much eat whatever it wanted, from fish to other giant lizards.

Dinosaur Fossils Galore!
Dino Festival doesn't skimp on quality or quantity! Witness a vast variety of extraordinary dinosaur fossils from the collections of VMNH and partner institutions, ranging from the fossils of predators, such as the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex and Allosaurus, to the massive fossil bones of long-necked sauropods!

Dino Tracks!
Dinosaur footprints have been found in the hundreds across Virginia, from the far north to the southern border near Danville. See original tracks of three-toed carnivorous dinosaurs—over 200 million years old—from across the Commonwealth!

Expert Paleontologists!
Dino Festival not only features the museum's very own paleontology team, but also experts representing other stellar institutions, such as the Smithsonian, whom visitors can learn from - and interact with - during the event!

Festivities Abound!
Face painting, balloon animals, food trucks, a host of dino-themed children's activities and crafts, and even a VR dinosaur simulation will take place both days of the event! Be sure to stop by the Museum Store to browse the special collection of dino-themed items for sale and capture a memory of your adventure at the Dino Fest Photo Booth!

On-site food options include:

  • Bahama Sno-Shack
  • Kona Ice
  • Factory Roast
  • D's Hot/Ice
  • Palumbo's Hoagie House
  • Buckin' Good Eats & Lemonade
  • Chick-fil-a (Saturday only)
  • Malloy Dogs
  • Birrieria La Vaca

Admission is only:

  • $10/Ages 18-59
  • $5/Ages 3-17, seniors 60+, and college students
  • FREE for children under 3
  • FREE for VMNH Members
  • FREE for members of ASTC Passport participating institutions
  • FREE for EBT cardholders who present their EBT card & official photo ID

[Free admission for EBT cardholders is valid for the cardholder (from any state) and up to 5 immediate family members living within the same household as the cardholder. Members of ASTC Passport participating institutions must provide their membership card to receive free admission. Groupons will be accepted. Friday attendees who wish to experience the festival again on Saturday may do so at no extra charge.]

Know before you go:

  • This event takes place indoors and outdoors.
  • Parking will be available off-site and free of charge.
  • A parking map/directions will be listed on the Dino Festival webpage prior to the event.
  • All listed offerings and information may be subject to change.