Sneak Peek: Dinos After Dark at Field Station in NJ
Sarah and her almost-4-year-old son get a special sneak peek at Dinosaurs After Dark at Field Station: Dinosaurs in Secaucus, NJ.
When we were invited to attend a preview of Dinosaurs After Dark at Field Station: Dinosaurs in Secaucus, NJ, I knew my not-quite-4-year-old son would love it. We have already visited the prehistoric attraction during its regular daylight hours, and how could you go wrong by adding s’mores?
We arrived just in time to join a group heading out on the tour, but you will not have to wait long even if you show up late: groups of 20 people depart from the entrance of the park every 4 minutes. Our guide was a Breckin Meyer lookalike who was FULL of interesting dinosaur facts, and very patient with my inquisitive preschooler, Cole.
The tour starts out with a presentation about the spooky history of the area – the smokestack ruins at the top of the hill are the last remains of the mental hospital that once stood here. After that introduction, we each received small flashlights and we were on our way!
Unlike a daytime visit to the park, where you move through in your own order at your own pace, Dinosaurs After Dark is a guided tour. After seeing a few of the animatronic main attractions, we were led into a yurt for a bit of history of the area. Cole was super excited to see all the dinosaurs, but a lot of the history discussion went a bit over his head; he was fidgety for the 10-minute presentation until we were back on the trail outside again. He was also a bit disappointed that the activities for children that are open in the park during the day (such as the sand box fossil dig and coloring) were not open for the evening hours. He was soon mollified, though, because there were lots of other things to see and do.
In addition to the history talk, there was a ghost story tied in to local lore, and a presentation about rock formation (there are ghosts in rocks!). Cole liked both of those sessions more than the history one, and was really excited to talk to Eryn, the friendly geologist.
Cole seemed to be the youngest child in attendance for our preview night, but he had a great time, as did all the other kids we saw. I would recommend the event for kids who are a little bit older (maybe 8 or 9), especially if your child is less fearless than Cole – he spent most of the night exclaiming to anyone who would listen that he was “not afraid of ANYTHING!” That said, the tour was about 2 hours long, and by its very nature takes place at night, so by the end he was lagging. The complimentary s’mores, hot chocolate, and dino dance party cheered him up, though – and he was very excited to see the baby T-rex that came out to play!
Two weeks later, Cole is still talking about the “robot dinosaurs” and already wants to go back. Though he had a few moments where it was too much, the event is very family friendly. Dinosaurs After Dark is going to be a perfect way to celebrate the Halloween season.
The Details on Dinosaurs After Dark
Dinosaurs After Dark runs Saturday nights in September, and Fridays and Saturdays in October. Advance tickets are $35 each and can be purchased online.
If you plan to visit, remember to wear layers – it gets chilly after the sun goes down – and bring bug repellant. Cole didn’t seem to have a problem, but that’s probably because he was sitting next to me, the mosquito buffet. Additionally, the trails are gravel and hilly, so wear comfortable shoes and watch your step! If you can, I’d leave the stroller in the car, as the trails are a bit uneven, and you’ll be going in and out of the tents.
If you think the night time event might be too scary for your small dinosaur enthusiasts, or if 7 to 9 PM is past bedtime, check out Field Station: Dinosaurs during the day!
Sarah Ludwig and her husband are raising their two children in Rockland County. Read more of her fun family adventures at Love, the Ludwigs.