While there are no roller coasters, jeep rides, or audio guides featuring commentary by Jeff Goldblum, the more relaxed Dino Parque in Lourinhã is a quirky tree-covered park about 75km north of Lisbon that’s still very much worth a visit, regardless of your age.
The park has 180 full-scale, scientifically accurate models of our extinct friends, divided into four periods of evolution (Paleozoic, Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous), along with a new Sea Monster route that gives you an impressive glimpse into the 450 million-year evolution of underwater creatures. There are a lot of big teeth here in particular.
The pathways are all in the shadow of the pines and make for a pleasant walk as it is, particularly with new dinosaurs constantly peeking through the trees all around. But it’s not just for amusement: each model is labeled with its name, height, weight, food preference, and more, and if you had a hard time distinguishing between a stegosaurus and a brontosaurus, you probably will rid of that problem.
Picnic areas are scattered throughout, as are a few sandy playground areas with some bouncy-osauruses and other things to get the kids’ heartbeats up. After walking the pathways (which could take anywhere from an hour to three, depending on the stamina of your group), you can visit a large playground area, a snack bar, or the large restaurant pavilion that serves plates of the day (think arroz do pato) along with the obvious hamburgers and hot dogs as well as the coveted dino nugget kids menu that comes with a toy dinosaur and a fancy cup.
Lourinhã itself is famous for a nest of over 100 dinosaur eggs that were discovered in the area. It even lends its name to the herbivorous Lourinhasaurus (you read that right), a model of which can be spotted along the Jurassic route. You can see a cast model of the discovery, along with other bones and bits, inside the Dino Parque’s central building, where you can learn more about the art of paleontology, fossilization, and the connection between hair and feathers, and pose for a selfie in front of a T-Rex skull. Of course, there are plush dinosaur toys in the adjoining gift shop.
Hours & Pricing
As per the website, the park is open every day, even on holidays, at 10 am, but check the closing hours, as it varies between 5 pm and 7 pm depending on the month.
Kids under 4 get in free while those between 4 and 12 are 9,90€ a head. Anyone over 13 can enter for 13,00€, and, in case you are curious, there is no special price for seniors. There are some family package options available as well, so check the site for more info.
PRO TIP: If you buy advance tickets online, you can save 15%.