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Where kids can see dinosaurs and fossils on Long Island

Dinosaur sculptures and statues are on display at

Dinosaur sculptures and statues are on display at Behind the Fence Gallery in Southampton. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

If your children are so enamored of dinosaurs that they want one in their backyard, well, you can buy a T-Rex statue for $10,000 from the Behind the Fence Gallery in Southampton.

If that’s a little bit beyond your budget, you can visit the gallery’s T-Rex and other dinosaur statues for free — or see or learn about dinosaurs and fossils at spots around Long Island.

Here are five places to indulge your family’s prehistoric fantasies, plus a new exhibit expected to arrive at the Long Island Children’s Museum at the end of January:

Center for Science Teaching and Learning, Rockville Centre

In July, the center added four new robotic dinosaurs to its outdoor collection — a mother and baby Triceratops, a Citipati and a Parasaurolophus. "Every year, we’re going to add something new. We just feel like we want to keep it fresh," says director Ray Ann Havasy.

The new creatures join the gang on the property, which includes an indoor exhibit called "Dinosaurs!" with two-dozen dinosaur models as well as skulls and fossils. The indoor portion of the exhibit also has two robotic dinosaurs that roar, swing their tails and bob their heads.

"Dinosaurs!" is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; admission is $15 per adult and $12 per child ages 1 to 10. 1450 Tanglewood Rd., 516-764-0045, cstl.org.

Behind the Fence, Southampton

"We’re a statue gallery, so we’re constantly getting statues in, shipping them across the United States," says Alison Jennerich, manager. But while they are outdoors at the gallery, the dinosaurs can be ogled by visitors for free. Prices range from a few hundred dollars to $10,000 for the walking Tyrannosaurus Rex. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday-Tuesday (closed Wednesdays). 1457 County Rd. 39, 631-283-5591, behindthefencegallery.com.

Sands Point Preserve, Sands Point

One of the preserve’s trails is dubbed the Dino Trail — but it’s dinosaur footprints, not dinosaurs, that visitors will encounter. There are three clusters of footprints along the quarter-milk walk, says Tracy Strianese, education director. "It’s good for the little ones," Strianese says of the trail, which also has a few dinosaur spring rides children can play on. Admission is $15 per car, $4 for walk-ins. 127 Middle Neck Rd., 516-571-7901, sandspointpreserveconservancy.org.

Garvies Point Museum and Preserve, Glen Cove

If you happen to be visiting the museum, you can check out the real dinosaur footprints that were found in Riverhead in the 1970s and 1990s and donated to the museum. Garvies Point also has a cast of a fossilized dinosaur footprint and other fossils in its downstairs area, but that is only open to the public during museum programs, says Dimitria Patrikis, museum educator. Museum admission is $5 per adult and $3 for kids ages 5 to 12. Younger than 5 is free. 50 Barry Dr., 516-571-8010.

Long Island Science Center, Riverhead

The center offers virtual and in person dinosaur programs, during which participants see a dinosaur jaw, teeth, skulls and bones. Those fossils give scientists clues about what dinosaurs ate, how tall they were, and whether they were predators or prey, says Cailin Kaller, executive director. Scout troops and others can also book a private program. Admission is $10 per person; dinosaur program adds extra fee, check website for dates. In person programs will be held at the center's new pop-up location at Tanger One, Suite 401, in Riverhead, beginning in November and through the end of 2022. 631-208-8000, sciencecenterli.org.

Long Island Children’s Museum in Garden City

A traveling exhibit called "Age of the Dinosaur" is expected to open at the Long Island Children’s Museum at the end of January and remain until May, says Maureen Mangan, director of communications and marketing. Spoiler alert: A Pteranodon with a 24-foot wingspan will hang from the ceiling. Other animatronic and model dinosaurs will include a T-Rex and a Stegosaurus. Kids can discover fossils while digging through sand and slide dinosaurs around a camouflage board to hide them. "We had a dinosaur exhibit three years ago which was a huge hit," Mangan says. She’s expecting the same this time around, she says. The exhibit will be included with museum admission of $14 per adult and child older than 1, $13 for senior. 11 Davis Ave., Garden City, 516-224-5800, licm.org.

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