The National Dinosaur Museum is one of Canberra’s premier tourist attractions, offering an interactive insight into the Earth’s long and dynamic history. The museum houses more than 50 lifelike dinosaur models, as well as full skeletons, skulls and robotic dinosaurs that move, blink, breathe and roar.
Groups navigate through hundreds of millions of years of the planet’s past with the help of the National Dinosaur Museum’s experienced and enthusiastic tour guides. Students will discover how dinosaurs evolved, where they lived, how they interacted, what they ate, and how they eventually perished. Guides will draw student focus to key elements of the exhibition discussing geological time scales, illuminating Australia’s prehistory, paleontological methods and developments, climactic changes and events, and the ice age and rise of the mega-fauna that followed dinosaur extinction.
Our fun-filled and informative tours are tailored to suit children of all ages from primary through to secondary school. Students are encouraged to extend their learning at the museum through interactive experiences; after a formal discussion in each section guides provide time for students to explore, feel the hands-on fossils and specimens, ask questions and take photos. Touch a 150 million-year-old dinosaur bone, a piece of fossilised dinosaur dung over 100 million years old and a 150kg meteorite.
Our newest exhibit features a massive Stegodon, one of the imposing relatives of the woolly mammoth. Standing 4 metres high and stretching 7.5 metres from tusk to tail, our awe-inspiring Stegodon towers over even the tallest person and offers a unique experience.
School group tours are most popular at night, when the museum is closed to the public, but can also be run during normal opening hours. Programs run for 90 minutes with an hour allocated to a guided tour through the exhibition space, and half an hour to spend in our interactive area and to browse through our gift shop, which houses Canberra’s largest display of fossils, minerals and crystal specimens for sale.
The National Dinosaur Museum is open every day, bookings are essential, and conditions apply.
The NDM provides a setting where current, evidence-based information can be delivered in an engaging, interactive setting. Tours are tailored to deliver comprehensive and interesting information to the appropriate age group, as well as encouraging participation and questions. Information which is delivered includes explanations of the concepts of evolution, particularly as they relate to prehistoric animals, as well as geological and biological information addressing ancient time periods through to today. Our experienced staff have delivered tour programs to age groups ranging from preschoolers to seniors, as well as special needs groups, ESL groups, and combinations of any of the above.
- Main Exhibition – with more than 50 full skeletons and skulls on display. The main exhibition begins with the world’s oldest fossil and mineral, and progresses through time periods up to the present.
- Giants of the Ice Age exhibition. This recent addition features full replica skeletons of a stegodon and sloth, and a section on human evolution.
- 12 Fully animatronic dinosaurs
- Dinosaur Garden with large, life-like fibreglass models
- Interactive area with hands-on fossils and minerals
- Extensive gift shop with souvenirs for all ages, interests and price ranges
- Disabled access
- Ample free parking (including room for coaches)
- Close proximity to other popular Canberra attractions
- Hotel accommodation for groups within walking distance
The NDM offers a range of tour options for groups. One hour guided tours are offered both day and night, with the night tour being a particularly unique option as the museum is closed to the public and groups are guided through the exhibit by torchlight. The tour is structured chronologically and while it focuses on the evolution, lives and extinction of dinosaurs and palaeontological processes, it also touches on the Ice Age, geology and the evolution of different life forms, including humans. All tours are tailored so that the information provided is appropriate and relevant to the group.
Premium tours are also available for groups who wish to have exclusive access to the museum. Premium tours ensure there is no overlap in the exhibit with any other groups, as well as providing an extended 1.5 hour tour and half an hour extra of exclusive access to revisit the exhibit at guest's own pace.
Group Extras are also available at an added cost to enhance the NDM experience.
Our extra options include:
- The Australian Fossil Workshop – where groups help staff find and identify real Australian fossils from Naracoorte caves (any fossils unearthed must be returned to Naracoorte, but participants receive a gift as part of the experience).
- Fossil Casting Workshop. Particularly appropriate for younger guests, this hands-on activity provides groups with a chance to create their own plaster fossil cast using real fossils. This provides a real-life example of how palaeontologists create fossil replicas (which all museums house), and guests are able to take their plaster cast home as a souvenir.
Incursions are also available for booking by preschool groups. The Incursion program is an hour long program specifically designed for 3-4-year-olds, where a staff member will travel to the preschool and provide dinosaur-themed activities. The activities include fossil and dinosaur discussions and interactive experiences with real specimens, plaster fossil casting, puppet play, dinosaur dancing and storytime. Travel costs may be incurred for locations outside of the ACT.
The National Dinosaur Museum has a friendly and professional team of staff who are passionate about prehistory and education. With backgrounds including science, teaching, geology and anthropology, all staff are up to date on the latest palaeontology discoveries. Tour guides are practised public speakers, with experience presenting information to, and answering the questions of, a wide variety of guests.
All supervising staff are trained in First Aid, and all staff have a Working With Vulnerable People clearance.
The National Dinosaur Museum is situated in Canberra, Australia's capital city. It is one of the premiere tourist attractions in the area.
Opening in 1993, the museum has grown from a small collection to housing the largest permanent display of dinosaur and other prehistoric fossil material in Australia, with 23 complete skeletons and more than 300 displays of individual fossils. Exhibits and information are continually being upgraded and new fossils and minerals acquired and added to the display. Recent additions include our Giants of the Ice Age exhibition, featuring a full size replica Stegodon skeleton.
The NDM was selected by CNN Travel as one of the Top 10 Dinosaur Museums in the World in 2013.
School Tours – day or night tours available
Dinos@School – local incursions available
It is the mission of the staff at the NDM to provide an enjoyable, fulfilling educational experience for groups. We aim to provide a friendly and thought-provoking environment which stimulates interest in the natural world for guests of all ages, with a particular emphasis on prehistory.
- Providing an experience that is both educational and fun
- Promoting an environment for scientific enquiry
Q: What do we need to do on arrival?
A: When arriving with your school group, a member of staff will greet you at the museum entrance and provide instructions regarding group size and the order of events.
Q: What do we need to bring?
A: The National Dinosaur Museum has an extensive gift shop, with many educational and souvenir items appropriate for guests of all ages. Group bookings are made with a half-hour time allowance for the gift shop, even if bookings are outside normal hours. As such, if groups have spending money they are encouraged to bring this.
Night tours are conducted by torchlight and limited exhibit lighting, however visiting groups are not required to bring torches as the staff are equipped with their own.
Q: Are there catering facilities at the museum?
A: Unfortunately the museum does not provide catering, however there is space for groups to eat within the museum – if required this must be requested when a booking is made.
The NDM provides an educational and exciting prehistory experience. Up-to-date, evidence-based information is presented in a fun environment and encourages the active participation of guests. Groups will learn about palaeontology, geological processes, evolution and biology. The NDM is also one of the few attractions in Canberra open for bookings at night, providing a convenient and enjoyable activity for groups at this time.
The museum maintains industry standard occupational health and safety policies, as well as $20,000,000 in public liability insurance.