Kids Corner | A rip-roaring good time with dinos

Childhood fads come and go. But funnily enough, though they died out some 65 million years ago, dinosaurs are here to stay. Why is that? Because the tails make good handles, so do the necks and you can pick them up cheap at flea markets with no vital bits missing? Or maybe because once you’ve learnt a few long dino names, you can astound anyone, anywhere, anytime by dropping a pachycephalosaurus into the conversation. Like its footprint, it leaves a deep impression. It certainly beats memorising the names, eating habits and favourite haunts of the latest boy band only to watch it sink without trace in the primeval soup of one-hit wonders two months later. 

Perhaps the main reason why dinosaurs will always be around is that grandparents have a fond affinity for these wrinkly-bottomed giants and like buying them as presents – feeling like spring chickens by comparison. Luckily grandchildren still find plastic mastodon toys as appealing as their equally lovable greying relatives – both treasures from a bygone age with masticating dentures and creaky joints who predate iPads and podcasts.

From a youngster’s point of view, at playschool, very little can match a T-Rex. Plonk one on the table and it’s goodbye Kitty! And for a kid whose brain won’t fully develop until the age of 25, it’s reassuring that animals generally believed to have a brain the size of a walnut – on a par with Winnie the Pooh – survived for 165 million years before becoming extinct. 

Whatever the case, kids love dino exhibitions because for one mammoth moment, their parents remember what it’s like to be little – knee-high, in fact – with a continuous crick in their neck from looking up while constantly at the risk of being stomped under foot. And despite the teeth, dinos are relatively safe. Buy a child a cute fluffy pocket pet, and before long she’ll start whining: ‘I want a puppy’. If she whines: ‘Daddy can I have a stegosaurus?’ it isn’t a problem. 

So why not go dino hunting? Depending on the age of your offspring, warm up with Ice Age, Barney or Jurassic Park, fast forwarding past the bits where the good guy gets chomped in half (a bit of a waist?), and check out the website of London’s Natural History Museum which has fun dino facts and games to keep kids amused. 

Then off you go! 

Dino playground
Depending on the degree of your dino dependency, you’ll know whether it might be worth travelling to Jutland to visit a dino-themed playground that is divided into three age groups. After week 33, the normal opening hours are 11:00-17:30 on Thursday and Friday and 10:00-18:00 over the weekend. Wear socks!
Norrebrogade 121, Fredericia; tickets: 85kr, under-2s free adm; 0426, 7979; www.dinoslegeland.dk 

Follow the tracks
As this column goes to print, the ‘Følge sporet’ (follow the tracks) exhibition has been extended. Yippeee! We had great fun among the crated dinos, burrowing in bean-bag nests of talking dino eggs and chipping away in the fossil finders’ workshop. Don’t forget upstairs, where you can spend hours sniffing everything from pretty perfumes to pungent pot-belly pig poo. Surf a bristling blue wave rolling along, watch fake plasma spurting up a glass column, assemble a jigsaw puzzle of internal human organs to your heart’s delight and then relax on a real bed of nails. The wind pipe blew us away. 
Experimentarium, Tuborg Havnevej 7, Hellerup; 3927 3333; tickets: 170kr, under-12s 108kr, under-3s free adm; www.experimentarium.dk.

Race a velociraptor
If casts of real dinosaur tracks discovered on Greenland, a 3-D cinema and the chance to race a two-legged dino exercise contraption against its four-legged counterpart sound fun, you could do worse than follow in our footsteps to the Geocentre’s ‘brand new’ dino exhibition. See yourself interacting with dinos in the dark on a big screen and learn a lot at this interactive exhibition. Back home, we had fun making an apple pie with dino tracks like theirs and will be making our own plaster of Paris footprints. Find out how and see more pictures of our adventures at www.helendyrbye.blogspot.com.
Geocenter Mons Klint, Stengårdsvej 8, Borre; tickets: 115kr, under-11s: 75kr; 5586 3600; www.moensklint.dk