Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point

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Note: For information on the gnomes in the Dinosaur Museum use this link.

I cannot even count the times I have been to the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point. Our boys are dinosaur lovers, but we have never met a child who doesn’t like to go to the Dinosaur Museum. This museum has lots of different dinosaur displays, some great hands-on activities for the kids, and gnome hunting, too!

Dinosaurs everywhere!


This museum is full of dinosaur fossils and displays. There are always a few fossils in the lobby, so you’ll start your journey before entering the museum. The exhibits in this museum are set in order of their timeline on earth. The first room shows archaeologists digging for fossils, and sometimes you can watch the paleontologists work on the dinosaur bones in their lab. You feel like you are walking through time that way, starting with fish and smaller creatures, building up to dinosaurs, and ending with a wooly mammoth and cave people from the Ice Age.  

The first room talks about paleontology.
We always enjoy seeing what the paleontologists are working on.
Walk through the time machine to head back to the time of the dinosaurs.
This museum has many fun exhibits.

There are lots of signs with information as well as screens to help you learn about the dinosaurs and other ancient life in the museum. Our boys love touching the bones they are allowed to touch, and crawling in the cave.

There is one room full of ocean fossils.

Hands-on Activities

The highlights for most children are hands-on activities. There are three fun activities. One is the erosion table. At the erosion table, kids can move the sand around to change the water flow as well as play with plastic dinosaurs. Children can build and create, and also get wet and sandy in this room. It is hard to keep my one-year-old from throwing dinosaurs or splashing in the water, which are no nos, but he has such a great time.  

The erosion table is our boys favorite place to visit. But watch out...they will be wet!
The erosion table is our boys favorite place to visit. But watch out…they will be wet!
Even as they have gotten older, they still love the erosion table.

Upstairs there is a new section where you can match fossils together to make dinosaurs, or lay them in the ground where they would be found. It’s like a giant puzzle.

The boys touching a fossil.
The boys touching a fossil.

The fossil dig is at the end of your journey through the museum.  Here children can pretend to be paleontologists and brush the sand off of dinosaur bones in a huge sand box. They have full-sized fossils hidden for the kids to discover.

The fossil dig is also really fun. Kids of all ages enjoy the sand.
The fossil dig is also really fun. Kids of all ages enjoy the sand.
Our boys love pretending to be paleontologists and brush off the fossils.


The Museum of Ancient Life has a fun activity that is perfect for adults and older kids. Hidden throughout the museum are 13 gnomes. 5 are painted and 8 are little figurines. They are super hard to find, but it is a great challenge for our teenagers.

Here is one example of a painted gnome.


Thanksgiving Point is a little pricey. We live in Lehi, and have an annual pass, so we visit often. In August, they have $2 Tuesdays where tickets are only $2 to all the venues on their property. Watch for information on those days. For more info about Thanksgiving Point prices, visit their website.

Just being silly with the Triceratops!
We love dinosaurs!

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