It’s that time of year. You know. That time when it seems you and your kids are either getting sick, are sick, or are recovering from being sick. If you’re lucky enough to not fall into one of these three categories, then you’re likely in the doing-everything-possible-to-not-get-sick camp. On top of all this germ mania, it’s frickin’ freezing out. So what can we do in Green Bay to have some fun with our young children while not exposing them to subzero temps or influenza?
By happy accident, my husband and I recently discovered a fun outing that engaged our toddler and taught her a few new things, too. All from the warmth of our car, and all while our infant took a car nap. (Score!) It’s a roadside scavenger hunt of sorts, and I want to share it with other Green Bay-area parents itching for a creative and low-maintenance way to get out of the house this season.
Are your littles wild about dinosaurs? Or at least like talking about them? I had a feeling. Did you know there are no fewer than SIX dinosaurs available for public viewing in Green Bay? The first three sites listed below—which cover four of the six dinosaurs—are within a few short miles of one another. So buckle up and get ready for this Green Bay roadside Dinosaur Tour! I’ve included ideas for discussion and learning at each locale.
- Dino Stop, 1828 S Ashland Ave, Green Bay, WI
The first stop on our Dinosaur Tour is at the iconic green Dino Stop dinosaur on Ashland Avenue. If your kiddos haven’t seen many dinosaurs, it’s helpful to start the tour with one that still has its flesh and isn’t just a fossil. Here you can point out some key features of the brontosaurus—like its long neck, long tail, and small head—and explain the eating habits of an herbivore or plant-eater. Speaking of eating—if you forgot to pack snacks for this mini road trip, now’s your chance to remedy that!
- Big Mama and Baby Bones, Neville Public Museum, 210 Museum Place, Green Bay, WI
Next, drive over to the Neville Public Museum, where you’ll be greeted by two Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur fossils. Well, they’re not really fossils. “Big Mama” and “Baby Bones” were built out of recycled metal by Don Debaker and first appeared at the Neville in 2002. This is an excellent opportunity to explain bones and skeletons, as well as what a fossil is and the field of paleontology. If that seems a bit advanced, have fun talking about the features of a T-Rex and making up a backstory for those silly hats. (My daughter may or may not think Big Mama and Baby Bones are gearing up to celebrate her birthday in a few weeks.) You can read more about the history of this mama-baby pair here.
- Team Dino Stop Support Office, 1533 Riverside Drive, Green Bay, WI
Now that your littles are familiar with the Dino Stop dinosaur see if they can spot the smaller version outside the Team Dino Stop Support Office on Riverside Drive. You can ask them to describe the dinosaur to give them an opportunity to practice their colors and use descriptive words. Prompt them to make comparisons by asking if this dinosaur is bigger or smaller than the one they saw earlier in the tour. Is he the same color or different? What else is different about this dinosaur? (Hint: This one isn’t wearing a Cheesehead!)If you were looking for a quick zip around downtown Green Bay, this concludes your impromptu dinosaur learning experience. If your kids are loving it and you’re hungry for more, continue on Riverside Drive toward East De Pere!
- Skeletal Dinosaur and Pet, Greenleaf Rd, De Pere, WI
The final two dinosaurs on our Dinosaur Tour were also created by Don Debaker and are easy to spot from the road. Make it a competition to see who can spot them first! (Hint: the dinosaurs are on the right as you’re driving south down Greenleaf Road, just past the intersection with Fox River Drive. There’s a frontage road if you want to take a closer look.) According to their writeup on roadsideamerica.com, these two are thought to be a Deinonychus walking to a Styracosaurus on a chain. See if your kids can spot the big difference between these two—how many legs they walk on! Ask them to name other animals that walk on either two legs or four legs.
I hope you had fun and feel a little less stir-crazy after taking your kids on this Tour de Dinos! As I said, this was an impromptu, happy accident of a dinosaur tour, and I’m confident we missed other dinosaurs available for viewing in Green Bay.
Please comment below with prehistoric friends we left out or other landmarks viewable from the comfort of a warm car that people should check out in our area!
Megan Enderby and her husband Matt are raising their two spirited daughters in Howard, Wisconsin. Megan grew up in Manitowoc and feels most at home near the water. In her free time, she loves visiting Door County and exploring marinas on both the Bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. She works from home and is always trying to find ways to strike a balance between family and work. She graduated from the University of Minnesota but hopes you won’t hold that against her.