San Francisco Botanical GardenSan Francisco Botanical Garden

Dino Discovery

in Golden Gate Park

This fall, sink your teeth into prehistoric fun in Golden Gate Park, where dinosaurs and ancient plants spring to life at three unique destinations. San Francisco Botanical Garden, California Academy of Sciences and the Conservatory of Flowers are all offering a variety of dinosaur-themed programs and events, and are all within easy walking distance of one another.

At San Francisco Botanical Garden, find yourself immersed in the Ancient Plant Garden featuring an elevated boardwalk and plants from the Early Devonian through Eocene epoch. Docent led walks, self-guided walks with new interpretive signage, along with themed crafts, and prehistoric story times will help you travel back through time.

At the California Academy of Sciences, travel through time and learn about the fascinating animals that once roamed the Earth during the Jurassic in the Park series of programs and events running from September 4 – November 15, 2012. This new series focuses on the evolution of dinosaurs, sharks, birds, and living fossils that still call this planet home and features the 3D show, Dinosaurs Alive! All programs are free with Academy admission unless otherwise noted.

At the Conservatory of Flowers, step back in time...WAY back in time on a journey through a real life land of the lost in the newest exhibition Plantosaurus Rex, open through October 21. It's a prehistoric paradise of plants from the time of the dinosaurs when giant ferns, spiky horsetails, and primitive cycads grew in lush abundance to feed many of the monstrous reptiles that roamed the earth.


Dino Events for Kids Top 6 Dino Discovery Activities for Families

Youth Dino Terrariums & Dino Print/Ancient Plant Rubbing

San Francisco Botanical Garden, 1199 9th Avenue at Lincoln Way
Saturday September 15; Saturday, October 13 and Saturday, November 10 at 12:00pm
Join us at the Botanical Garden for hands-on fun with plants and great take-home creations for kids ages 3-10.
getting here

Storytime & Family Walk

San Francisco Botanical Garden, 1199 9th Avenue at Lincoln Way
Sunday, October 7 and Sunday, October 21 at 10:30am
Looking for a fun, free, and easy-to-coordinate activity? Join us in our cozy children's book nook with comfy kid-sized cushions, a bevy of stuffed animals, and live storytellers. In October, story time travels back to the time of the dinosaurs and gets a visit from a dinosaur relative. Afterwards, families can enjoy a special docent-led children's tour of the Ancient Plant Garden: we'll follow dinosaur footprints through the history of plant evolution and find dinosaurs in the topiaries. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. For children ages 4-8 and their families. Storytime lasts about 30 minutes, and the tour departs from the Library at 11:00 am.
getting here

Dinosaurs Alive! 3D Show

California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive
Shows daily (starting September 4)
See the earliest creatures of the Triassic Period to the monsters of the Cretaceous brought to life in the 3D show Dinosaurs Alive! The show, which will play daily in the Forum Theater, follows renowned paleontologists as they discover new fossils and uncover evidence that dinosaur descendants are still among us, and features realistic and scientifically-accurate computer-generated dinosaurs.
more info

Sharks to Dinosaurs: A Walk through Time

California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive
Daily at 12:00pm
Uncover the Earth's ancient history and learn about the sharks, tortoises, and dinosaurs that first appeared millions of years ago as you explore the Academy's exhibits. Step back in time and discover the unique adaptations these amazing species developed for thriving and surviving on a planet that was very different from our modern world.
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Saturday Safari

California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive
Saturdays at 11:00am
All ages are invited to African Hall for an imaginary expedition around the corner or around the world. We will navigate with maps to chart our exploration and use props, specimens, storytelling, and songs to set the scene for our travels. A special children's book will be read each week.
more info

KQED Dinosaur Train

California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive
Sunday, October 14, 11:00am – 4:00pm
Celebrate a day of discovery at the Academy with KQED and Buddy the T-Rex from Dinosaur Train! Bring a camera and a curious spirit and join Buddy as he explores the museum and greets visitors. Take the Nature Trackers Challenge and become a member of the Dinosaur Train Nature Trackers Club, a community of young children, families, and educators committed to learning about nature and protecting the environment.
more info


Explore the Ancient Plant Garden Top Dino Discovery Activities for Adults

Daily Tours through the Ancient Plant Garden

San Francisco Botanical Garden, 1199 9th Avenue at Lincoln Way
Every Saturday during Dino Disovery in Golden Gate Park from September – November 3.
Join us for docent-led tours through the Ancient Plant Garden. Meet at the Friend Gate.
getting here

Ancient Plant Guides at our Information Stations

San Francisco Botanical Garden, 1199 9th Avenue at Lincoln Way
Every Sunday from September 16 – November 4.
Learn more about ancient plants! Bring your questions to our special Ancient Plant information stations every Sunday during Dino Discovery.
getting here

Sketch-a-Saurus Social Dinonite

Conservatory of Flowers, 100 John F. Kennedy Drive.
Thursday, October 4, 4:30pm – 7:00pm
Practice your drawing skills among the flowers. We'll have sketch pads and pencils, and $5 beers for those 21+. DinoNites are ongoing each Thursday through October 21. Free with admission to the Conservatory, last entry at 6:30pm.
more info

Going Extinct! Plantosaurus Rex After Hours

Conservatory of Flowers, 100 John F. Kennedy Drive.
Thursday, October 18, 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Say good-bye to Plantosaurus Rex as the dinosaurs disappear all over again. Music, entertainment, snacks, and social activities for After Hours at the Conservatory. Entry is $5, and drinks are $5. 21+ only after 6:30pm.
more info


A collaboration between

Dino Discovery Sponsors
Cycad. Photo by Joanne Taylor

Cycad in Ancient Plant Garden. Photo by Joanne Taylor.


Tunnel your vision from any number of purviews in the Ancient Plant Garden and you can imagine dinosaurs grazing just beyond the fern fronds. Daily tours offered through November 3 .


Ancient Plant Garden

Footprints. Photo by Ron Sullivan.

Ancient Plant Garden

Gunnera tinctoria. Photo by Poetic Shutterbug.

ADMISSION FREE: all San Francisco City & County Residents, Members & School Groups     /     $7 Non-residents     /     Discounted fee: Seniors, Students & Children     |     We are located at the corner of 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park.     |     (415) 661-1316

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California Academy of Sciences