Bronx Zoo Dinosaur Safari Brings Dinos Roaring Back to Life

The Bronx Zoo's Dinosaur Safari presents prehistoric beasts in life-like scenes on a 1/4-mile walk-through trail.
The Bronx Zoo's Dinosaur Safari presents prehistoric beasts in life-like scenes on a 1/4-mile walk-through trail.

They roar, brandish their teeth, and swing their tails and claws at you, but these prehistoric giants can't hurt anyone. They’re all part of the Dinosaur Safari at the Bronx Zoo, which opened on Monday, April 11, just in time to land on our list of the top things to do during spring break.

If you visited the last Dinosaur Safari at the Bronx Zoo, take note: The wagon ride has been replaced with a walk-through experience, following a trail through a prehistoric-themed display featuring 52 life-size, animatronic dinosaurs. Read on for all the details on this fun revamped attraction for kids at the Bronx Zoo, including how to get tickets and must-know tips for families.

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Visitors can pick up the trail near the Fountain Circle—and the precocious sea lions—while you're there, be sure to check out the ADA-accessible dig site, where kids can dig up "ancient" fossils and learn how fossils can teach us about what the world was like ages ago.

Along the safari route, visitors spot dinosaurs in various lifelike poses and scenes, some protecting eggs, some foraging for food, and some even hunting prey. A Tarchia peeks through the foliage at eye level, while the long neck of a 60-foot Omeisaurus stretches to the treetops. A baby Kosmoceratops hides between its massive-horned parents. You’ll also hear some of them roar and see them move their head, tails, and arms as you walk along.

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See dinosaurs of all shapes, sizes, and colors at the Bronx Zoo Dinosaur Safari.
See dinosaurs of all shapes, sizes, and colors at the Bronx Zoo Dinosaur Safari. 

It’s not meant to be scary, and it’s all done in the daylight hours, of course, but my 4-year-old dinosaur nut was a bit nervous about being too close to these beasts. He made me reassure him more than once that they weren’t real, and he nearly jumped out of his skin at a few of the roars. Still, he loved the experience overall, nearly squealing in delight when he recognized a favorite: “That’s Stegosaurus, Mommy!” And he enjoyed pointing out dino trivia along the way: “See, some did have feathers,” and “That mom is protecting the eggs.”

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Close up photo of two T. rex at the Bronx Zoo Dinosaur Safari
Get up close to these massive prehistoric predators—if you dare. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

There’s one scene of carnage that shows a few predators feasting on the innards of a luckless herbivore, but for some reason, that barely fazed my kid. But the enormous pair of 40-foot Tyrannosaurus rexes (we mentioned these guts were life-sized, right?)...well, he wanted to get away from those two ASAP.

You might remember that the zoo hosted a previous version of Dinosaur Safari a few years back, but this time the creatures and the experience are completely new, zoo representatives told us. The models were developed in coordination with a dinosaur expert and “Dino” Don Lessem, an author of dozens of popular science books, and a movie and theme park consultant. Dino geeks and novices alike can enjoy the tour. I was impressed by the number of dinosaurs on display, as well as their lifelike sizes and motions. The lushly planted trail makes everyone feel like they’re on a real expedition, but the dino calls and shrieks might put you more in that paranoid Jurassic Park state of mind!

RELATED: Best Children's Museums for Families to Visit in New York City

See dinosaurs—and babies—up close at the Bronx Zoo Dinosaur Safari
Kids delight in seeing dinosaurs at close range. 

Know Before You Go to the Bronx Zoo's Dinosaur Safari

  • When: The temporary exhibit runs through Sunday, October 30, during normal zoo hours.
  • How much? The Dinosaur Safari is included in your Bronx Zoo Admission ticket. Timed-entry tickets must be purchased online in advance.
  • Where: Find the entrance to the exhibit near the Fountain Circle, just past where the sea lions swim.
  • Plan to arrive early in the day—the popularity of this outdoor attraction means the parking lots fill fast, so we suggest opting for an early reservation. 

A previous version of this post was published in 2019; it has since been noted. Rose Gordon Sala contributed additional reporting. Unless noted, photos by the author

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