They’re everywhere you look! Dinosaurs roar into Manitoba

Posted June 16, 2017 | Author Nisha Tuli

Two excited kids captivated by a lifelike dinosaur exhibit at the zoo, marveling at the prehistoric world brought to life.

This summer, Manitoba has been taken over by dinosaurs. The roaring, stomping, giant and ancient creatures have come to life at the Assiniboine Park Zoo, the Manitoba Museum and Morden’s Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in three distinct exhibits that are sure to thrill the dinosaur obsessed 3, 10, or 62-year-old in your life.

Recently, I embarked on a tour of Manitoba’s resident dino population with my own dinosaur loving 2-year-old, Nicky, and his curious big sister, Alice (age 5). Like many things in life (though certainly not all), it’s just more fun to experience things through the eyes of little ones.

The Ancient Ones

Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre

It’s hard to believe that the prairies were once home to an ancient ocean, where prehistoric aquatic creatures roamed. But believe it, because this museum housed in the basement of the Access Event Centre in the city of Morden is home to the largest collection of marine reptile fossils in Canada. Technically, these aren’t dinosaurs, but rather prehistoric marine reptiles, but we won’t quibble.

Two fascinated kids observing colourful fish swimming gracefully in an aquarium, their faces lit up with wonder & amazement.

One sunny Saturday, we loaded up the car (well two cars in this case, because we took friend Aidyn and her family along with us) and made the short 1 hour and 20 minute drive to Morden.

The kids had fun exploring the detailed exhibits and dioramas of the space that included a shark vertabra and a squid fossil. Older kids would easily be able to spend an hour here reading all of the in-depth stories scattered throughout (please take note of Nicky’s shirt below. It’s one of his favourites).

A joyful child wearing a smile, standing in front of an aquarium as a friendly fish seems to be sharing a smile in return.

Naturally, the star of the museum for the kids was Bruce, who’s been hanging around these parts for about 80 million years–give or take. He’s the largest mosasaur in Canada at 43 feet long and tends to mesmerize visitors with his huge jaws and massive hands and feet.

Two exuberant kids filled with excitement as they encounter the skeletal remains of a sea creature.

For little ones, the next highlight was the climbable mosasaur, perfect for a photo op, and the activity area complete with sand box for digging up dino bones, supplies for craft-making, puzzles and more.

A girl gleefully riding a metal sculpture of a sea creature, embracing imagination & adventure in an artistic playtime moment

If you’ve got older kids, then CFDC takes it to the next level by offering fossil digs at one of 30 sites in the Morden area where you can hunt for your very own fossil (sorry, you can’t keep it). You can also try your hand at Cretaceous Park, an escape room experience where you’ll try to stop a band of fossil thieves or plug in to their new augmented reality app that will put you in a room with a full-sized Bruce who will swim with life-like detail before your very eyes.


  • Monday to Friday 10 am – 5 pm
  • Saturday/Sunday 10 am – 5 pm


  • Adults $8.00
  • Students $5.00 (5 – 18 y/o)
  • Family $18.00 (2 adults, 3 children)
  • Preschoolers FREE

The Roaring Ones

Dinosaurs Alive! at Assiniboine Park Zoo

Next, I took Alice and Nicky to visit the prehistoric residents at the zoo. As we approached the dino zone, roars and grunts and screams could be heard in the distance, a hint of what was to come. Wide eyed, my kids proceeded with caution, not quite sure what to expect. That’s Alice roaring like a dinosaur in the photo below.

A spirited girl roaring playfully behind a 'Dinosaurs Ahead' sign, embracing the thrill of prehistoric adventure.

As the kids rounded the corner, what awaited was a host of animatronic dinosaurs, so lifelike, you’d think you’d stepped back in time a few million years. Of course, one of their favourite parts was pushing the buttons to make different parts of the dinosaurs roar and move. Older kids will like pushing buttons too (because even adults can’t resist it), but will also enjoy reading the signs that give you all the details of every dinosaur you meet.

Girl unleashing her inner explorer, roaring joyfully in front of a stegosaurus replica from the ancient past.

Alice was especially excited to see this guy, who she pointed to and shouted ‘Bruce!’ thanks to our visit to the CFDC the week before. See? This isn’t just fun–it’s educational too!

Children and an adult captivated by the detailed replica of a Pylosaurus, engrossed in the world of prehistoric marine life.

The star of the show was of course, the towering T-Rex. Seen at first poking through the bushes, his roars carrying over everyone, the kids ran towards him, absolutely amazed.

Kids standing in awe before a lifelike replica of a T-Rex, experiencing the thrill of facing a legendary dinosaur up close.

Once they got over their awe of this big guy, they made their way to the sand pit where they dug for fossils and visited the last few dinosaurs in the exhibit. Was it a hit? I think this face says it all:

A child brimming with excitement and wonderment, fully engaged and amazed by the captivating sights at the dinosaur exhibit.


  • Open daily 9 am to 5 pm
  • Dinosaurs Alive runs until October 9


Included with regular zoo admission

  • Adults (18 – 59) – $19.95Seniors (60+) – $17.75
  • Students (with valid student ID) – $17.75
  • Youth (13 – 17 years) – $17.75
  • Children (3 – 12 years) – $11.00
  • Under 3 years – FREE *

The Enormous Ones

World’s Giant Dinosaurs at the Manitoba Museum

And finally, the biggest ones of all. Housed inside Alloway Hall at the Manitoba Museum, this exhibit also features animatronic dinosaurs, but the dim lighting and echoing sounds reverberating off the walls gives this version a completely different ambiance.My kids were a little nervous walking in, approaching slowly as we rounded on the first dinosaur. The mood was lightened when we discovered this guy, pictured below on the left, wasn’t actually roaring, but rather was making sounds from his other end. What kid doesn’t love a farting dinosaur?

Impeccably crafted replica of a Monolophosaurus, showcasing the intricate details of this Jurassic-era predator.

The thing you’ll notice here as you round the next corner, is the incredible size of these dinosaurs. They weren’t kidding when they said world’s largest. These guys soared to the ceiling, so big I couldn’t even get them all in the frame.

Stunning replica of a Brachiosaurus dinosaur, towering and majestic, evoking the grandeur of Earth's prehistoric giants.

There was, though, a little tiny dinosaur kids can hop on and ride. (If you’re a parent, you know that getting two small children to look at the camera and smile at the same time is about as likely as finding a T-Rex in your backyard when you get home.)

Remarkable replica of a triceratops dinosaur, capturing the essence of this iconic horned creature from the ancient world.

And of course, with goggles and brushes in hand, the kids hopped in the sand box for their final fossil dig of our tour. I loved the sparkly, crystalline sand that filled this box. There was also a ‘chalkboard’ dinosaur that kids can write their name on and colouring tables, as well.

Three playful kids joyfully exploring a sandbox, their imaginations running wild amidst the sand and fun.

At one point, Nicky decided to wander off a bit on his own. We were about to follow after him when ear piercing screams filled the space as he realized a huge dinosaur was roaring and towering over him. He ran at breakneck speed back to his dad. I wish I’d gotten a video to play at his future wedding. There’s no doubt World’s Giant Dinosaurs is effective!

A few days later and he doesn’t seem permanently scarred… we think. Luckily, everyone still went home with smiles and Alice even made a new friend.

Girl unleashing her excitement with a roar in front of a lifelike replica of an Andesaurus dinosaur.


  • Monday to Thursday, Saturday & Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm
  • Friday (Except for Friday, July 7): 10 am – 9 pm
  • World’s Giant Dinosaurs runs until September 4


Ticket prices vary based on which areas of the museum you want to see. Visit here to purchase.

Nisha Tuli

About The Author

Hello! I'm the former senior content marketing manager at Travel Manitoba. I also happen to live in one of the most surprising and beautiful places in the world. I love discovering stories and the things that make Manitoba one of the best places to visit.

Senior Content Marketing Manager