A celebration of all things Dinosaur

Dino Fest

  • Time

    August 31st- September 1st

  • Good for

    All Ages

  • Location

    Entire Museum

  • Price

    General Admission

  • Time

    August 31st- September 1st

  • Good for

    All Ages

  • Location

    Entire Museum

  • Price

    General Admission

August 31 - September 1

A celebration of all things dinosaur! Dino lovers of all ages are invited to celebrate with everything from family-fun activities like digging for fossils in our dinosaur pit, face painting, and sightings of a life-size dinosaur roaming the halls, to deeper dives into the science of dinosaurs with talks from paleontologists, demonstrations from our preparators, trivia, workshops, and more.

Dino Fest activities are from 10am-4pm, but Museum exhibits will remain open until 5pm.

Highland Capital Management


Paleo Lab Engagements
At the top of every hour from 10am-3pm
Come talk with a fossil preparator and find out what they’re working on in the Lab right now!

Many Perot Museum discoveries found in the T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall hail from the Northern Slope of Alaska where Chief Curator and Paleontologist Dr. Anthony Fiorillo has spent the past 22 summers doing expeditions, solidifying his place as the expert of Arctic paleontology. The Kikak-Tegoseak Quarry is the location on the banks of the Colville River, from which the holotype specimens of Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum and Nanuqsaurus hoglundi (both on display in the hall) were collected. Currently in the Paleo Lab, the vast majority of specimens being worked on are blocks and chunks of rock from this quarry that contain untold numbers and kinds of fossilized bones. While working through the material collected from this location, we’ve uncovered and prepared out partial skulls, hip bones, vertebrae, ribs, a femur, foot bones, jaws, and more. In total, we have the remains of at least 15 individual animals represented. Who knows what might appear next? Come watch and see what we’ll uncover!


Dino Dig Pits
Search for fossils modeled after real discoveries made by Perot Museum paleontologists!

Fossils in Your Backyard
Level 2 Discovering Life Hall | Ongoing
Match the prehistoric animal to the Texas location where it was discovered. You’ll be surprised what’s under your feet!

Dino Trivia 
Level 2 Engineering and Innovation Hall | 11am and 2pm
Put your dinosaur knowledge to the test in a round or two of dino-themed trivia! 
11am - Recommended for younger guests
2pm - Recommended for teens and adults

Dating Fossils (Science on the Spot) 
Level 3 Dynamic Earth Hall | 1:30pm
Investigate how geologists and paleontologists determine the age of ancient life, and help piece together the timeline of Earth’s geologic past.

Illustrating the Past
Level 4 Landing | Ongoing
Find out how paleontologists determine what dinosaurs looked like by creating your own prehistoric illustrations.

What is a Dinosaur? Bird Edition (Science on the Spot)
Level 4M Hall of Birds | 10:30am 
Find out the surprising connections between prehistoric dinosaurs and birds.

Window to the Wild
Level 4 Life Then and Now Hall
See some impressive modern-day dinosaurs, AKA live birds, up close!

Jr. Paleontologist Lab | 10am and Noon
Lower Level, Purple Learning Lab
Enjoy a dino-themed story time and hands-on activity. 
Recommended for ages five and under. Space is limited. First come, first served.

Photo Booth 

Face Painting

Life: Past and Present (Location TBD, Saturday only)

Explore the diversity of life on Earth through fossils and live animal encounters.

Roaming Dinosaur
See if you can find the life-size dinosaur roaming around the Museum!

Saturday Talks in the Lower Level Auditorium

11am | GSI: Geologic Science Investigation
Sami Doupnik, Perot Museum Geologist and Earth Science Engagement Manger
Solve the mystery of Earth’s past like a true geologic detective! You will uncover clues left behind in the fossil record that led to the (literal) ground-breaking discovery of plate tectonics and the processes that have shaped Earth for billions of years.

1pm | Dinosaurs of the Midnight Sun
Dr. Ron Tykoski, Director of the Arctic Paleontology Center and Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology
Paleontologists from the Perot Museum have spent years painstakingly building a picture of ancient life in the northernmost reaches of our world during the Age of Dinosaurs. Along the way we’ve discovered and named new species, tried to find answers to long-unanswered questions about dinosaur lifestyles and behavior in the paleo-Arctic environment, and generated new questions that point the way to new investigations. Ron will present the story of what Perot Museum scientists have found, what we now know (and what we don’t yet!), and provide hints as to the directions the Perot Museum’s paleontology research program will aim toward while growing into the future.

3pm | The Day the Dinosaurs Died
Hillary Cepress-McLean, Paleo Preparator Manager
The last moment of the reign of the dinosaurs was dramatic and incredible. Join Hillary as she takes you through what we know life would have been like for Earth’s creatures during the time before and after the asteroid impact.

Sunday Talks in the Lower Level Auditorium

11am | Breaking Big Rocks in Little Rocks: What is a Fossil Preparator?
Myria Perez, Assistant Fossil Preparator
Find out what it takes to become an expert in finding and cleaning up fossils for use in the Museum’s collections. Come check out the specific tools Myria uses in her daily work, learn how she got started in paleontology, and hear the stories of what it’s actually like to work on specimens that are millions of years old!

1pm | Fresh from the Field! The Perot Museum’s Expeditions in Alaska
Dr. Anthony Fiorillo, Vice President of Research and Collections and Curator
Come hear Dr. Tony Fiorillo, just back from a pair of expeditions in Alaska, discuss what discoveries he and his team have made over the years about how dinosaurs and other organisms lived in the far north of the ancient world.

3pm | The Day the Dinosaurs Died
Hillary Cepress-McLean, Paleo Preparator Manager
The last moment of the reign of the dinosaurs was dramatic and incredible. Join Hillary as she takes you through what we know life would have been like for Earth’s creatures during the time before and after the asteroid impact.

Here are a few of our "Dino Experts" that will be hosting special talks during Dino Fest. Find out how their curiosity for dinosaurs turned into a lifetime passion and career!

Ronald S. Tykoski, Ph.D
Director of the Arctic Paleontology Center & Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology

Ron started on his paleontological path as a child, collecting fossils of 400 million-year-old brachiopods and corals from the fields and farms around his home in southeastern Michigan. He attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he majored in geological sciences and worked at the university’s Museum of Natural History. At the same time, he also worked at the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology, where he first learned fossil preparation skills and methods. Tykoski began graduate studies in geological sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, where he researched details of the anatomy, growth patterns, and evolutionary relationships of early meat-eating dinosaurs (theropods) and their kin. He earned a Master of Science degree in 1998 and a Ph.D. in 2005, then immediately joined the Perot Museum of Nature and Science (at that time the Dallas Museum of Natural History) as the Museum’s fossil preparator that same year.

For more than a dozen years, Tykoski’s work has mostly centered upon supporting the Perot Museum’s research program in Arctic paleontology. While with the Museum he prepared the most complete skull of the Alaskan ceratopsian dinosaur Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum (displayed in the Museum’s T. Boone Pickens Life: Then and Now Hall), described and co-named of one of North America’s oldest fossil birds Flexomornis howei from Grapevine, Texas, supervised the preparation of the huge neck vertebrae of the giant sauropod dinosaur Alamosaurus sanjuanensis from Big Bend National Park (exhibited on the Museum’s 4th floor), co-authored the description and naming of the pint-sized Arctic tyrannosaur Nanuqsaurus hoglundi, led the excavation and preparation of a nearly complete Columbian mammoth skeleton from southern Ellis County, and most recently spearheaded a re-description and analysis of Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum based on new fossils uncovered in the Museum’s fossil preparation lab since 2012. In 2018 he was appointed Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology, and Director of the Museum’s recently erected Arctic Paleontology Center.


Hillary Cepress-McLean
Paleontology Fossil Lab Manager

After bring inspired to volunteer at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science about six years ago when learning about the incredible ice age discovery in Snowmass, CO where over 5,000 bones from different Ice Age animals had been found in this construction site, Cepress-McLean became hooked. Over the next several years, she moved from an intern and then a volunteer in the fossil prep lab. Through her time at the Denver Museum, she dug dinosaurs all over the western United States including multiple weeks on sites in Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado. During this time, she did a summer internship at the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South Datoka, one of the largest mass Mammoth bonebeds in the world!

About two years ago, she was hired as the summer lab manager in Ekalaka, Montana at the Carter County Museum. Ekalaka is a tiny, ranching town of only 300 people, but they are smack dab in the middle of the Hell Creek formation (Of Triceratop and T-rex fame) and is Montana’s oldest dinosaur Museum. During her time there, she helped the Museum clean up its vast collections of fossils and built a fully functioning fossil prep lab while also providing education and training to the Museum volunteers about paleontology and fossil preparation.

She was then hired at Makoshika State Park in Glendive, Montana for a month to also help them get their collections and fossil prep lab in working order. Upon returning from her time in Montana, she was accepted into the Masters of Geosciences graduate school program at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. While pursuing her degree and working as the fossil lab manager at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History she was then offered the lab manager position at the Perot Museum of Science and Nature.  It's been 6 months since she first moved to Dallas, but she's loving it and is expecting to graduate with her Masters of Geosciences in the winter of 2020. 

Myria Perez
Assistant Fossil Preporator

For as long as Myria can remember she always wanted to be a paleontologist. Growing up, everyone knew her as “the dinosaur kid.” Her childhood was entirely full of dinosaur VHS tapes and toys, and numerous trips to the Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS).  By the time she was 12, she was volunteering at the HMNS and worked with mentors on how to prepare fossils in the lab, work exhibit halls, and conduct field work in the Permian red beds of Seymour, Texas. In college, she did her undergraduate work with Dr. Louis Jacobs at Southern Methodist University, where she continued fossil preparation and field work and earned degrees in geology and anthropology.

During her junior summer, she interned at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and conducted research on ichthyosaur preservation with paleontologist Dr. Anna K. Behrensmeyer, which included specimens discovered by the mother of paleontology, Mary Anning. She then became a core team member and fossil preparator for the SMU-Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History’s exhibition Sea Monsters Unearthed: Life in Angola’s Ancient Seas. Myria continues to grow and follow her dreams in the Paleo Lab at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science preparing Alaskan dinosaurs.

Sami Doupnik
Earth Science Engagement Manager

As many scientists do, Sami fell in love with science at an early age while spending the majority of her childhood playing outside in the dirt. Although her fossil and beach sand collection grew throughout the years, it wasn’t until college that she realized the field of geology was meant for her. She attended Miami University for her undergraduate degree in geology, where she was able to travel to many places around the Lower-48 to study the dynamic geologic past of North America. It was when she took her first field trip to Yellowstone National Park that she was “hooked” on volcanoes and wanted to focus her academic career on trying to understand how, why, and when volcanoes erupt. After college, she moved to Flagstaff, Arizona where she studied explosive, large volume volcanic eruptions for her Master’s thesis at Northern Arizona University. During this time, she traveled to Rome, Italy to study a “supervolcano” that was once thought to be extinct, but had recently began showing signs of activity and unrest. She wanted to better understand what caused this region to erupt in the past and how it might behave in the future.

As “lavable” as volcanoes are, Sami discovered her true passion while teaching introductory geology labs and field courses to non-majors, and educating the Flagstaff community during its annual Festival of Science. She wanted to inspire as many people as possible about the natural world around them, so Sami moved to Dallas, Texas to begin a science communication career at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science! Sami has spent three years at the Museum engaging with students, teachers, and guests about the awesome world of Earth Science. She hopes to continue to explore how to bridge the gap between scientists and the public in innovative and engaging ways!

Discover the Dinosaurs!

Dino Fest FAQ

  1. What is the cost to attend Dino Fest?

    Most Dino Fest activities are free with General Admission. Food and drink, as well as select activities including workshops, require a surcharge. If you would like to attend a workshop, you may add that on to your day at checkout. 

  2. Will there be food and drinks?

    Food and drinks will be available for purchase in the Café and on the Plaza. Please enjoy these in the Café, the Lobby, or on the Plaza. All alcoholic beverages must be consumed on the Plaza. 

  3. Can I bring food from home?

    Yes. You may bring food with you, but we do not have a place to store it. No outside alcoholic beverages are allowed. Please enjoy all food from home in the Lobby or on the Plaza. Café seating is reserved for purchases made in the Café. Food and drinks, aside from water in a resealable container, are not allowed in the exhibit halls.

  4. Where should I park?

    You can find information on parking here.

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