The Detroit Triceratops: A Must-See Attraction for Dinosaur Lovers

Looking to add some prehistoric wonder to your next trip? The Detroit Triceratops is a must-see attraction for dinosaur lovers. Located in the heart of the Motor City, this exhibit offers a chance to see a real-life triceratops skeleton up close and learn about the ancient history of our planet. From interactive displays to guided tours, the Detroit Triceratops has something for every dino enthusiast.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the history of the triceratops, what you can expect when you visit, and additional resources for those who want to learn more about these fascinating creatures. So come on a journey through the past and discover the Detroit Triceratops!

History of the Detroit Triceratops

The Detroit Triceratops is a fossilized skeleton of a triceratops, a type of herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the late Cretaceous period, around 65 million years ago. Triceratops were characterized by their large size, distinctive frilled head, and three horns, likely used for display or defense.

The triceratops skeleton was discovered in Detroit in the early 20th century. It has since become an important part of the city’s natural history. Scientists and paleontologists have studied fossils to learn more about the triceratops and the environment in which they lived.

Excavating and studying a fossil like the Detroit Triceratops is a complex and time-consuming process. It involves carefully removing the fossil from the surrounding rock and soil and then analyzing the bones and other physical characteristics to understand the anatomy and behavior of the creature. This process helps scientists piece together the story of the triceratops and their place in the prehistoric world.

The Detroit Triceratops is a significant find not just because of its size and rarity but also because it provides valuable insights into the evolution and behavior of dinosaurs. Triceratops was one of the last dinosaur species to emerge before the mass extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, so studying their anatomy and behavior can help us understand the characteristics and adaptations of dinosaurs as a whole.

Visiting the Detroit Triceratops

The Detroit Triceratops exhibit is located at the Detroit Science Center, open to the public year-round. Hours of operation vary depending on the season, so it’s a good idea to check their website or call them to confirm when the exhibit will be open.

When you visit the Detroit Triceratops exhibit, you can expect to see the fossilized triceratops skeleton up close, as well as various interactive displays and educational exhibits. These exhibits may include information about the anatomy and behavior of triceratops and the environment in which they lived. Some exhibits may also include hands-on activities, such as fossil digging or creating a model of triceratops.

In addition to exploring the exhibits on your own, you may also take a guided tour of the exhibit. These tours are typically led by trained educators who can provide additional context and answer any questions. Guided tours are a great way to better understand the triceratops and the science behind them.

To make the most of your visit to the Detroit Triceratops exhibit, here are a few tips:

  • Plan ahead: Make sure you know when the Detroit Science Center is open and what exhibits will be available. You may also want to purchase tickets in advance to avoid lines or sold-out tours.
  • Wear comfortable shoes: The Science Center is a large facility with a lot to see, so be prepared to do some walking.
  • Bring a camera: The Detroit Triceratops is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a real-life triceratops skeleton up close, so don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the moment.
  • Participate in hands-on activities: Many of the Science Center exhibits are interactive, so take advantage of the opportunity to learn through hands-on experiences.
  • Ask questions: If you have questions about the triceratops or the Science Center, don’t hesitate to ask the staff or tour guides. They are there to help you learn and have a great experience.

Additional resources for dinosaur lovers

If you’re a dinosaur enthusiast, plenty of other nearby attractions and resources can help you learn more about these fascinating creatures. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Paleontological Research Institution: Located in Ithaca, New York, the PRI is a nonprofit organization that conducts research on the history of life on Earth, with a particular focus on paleontology. The PRI offers exhibits, educational programs, and resources for those interested in learning more about paleontology and the natural world.
  2. Dinosaur State Park: Located in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, Dinosaur State Park is home to one of the largest dinosaur track sites in North America. The park features a 500-foot-long dinosaur trackway, as well as exhibits on the geology and paleontology of the area.
  3. Books and movies: There are countless books and movies about dinosaurs that can provide a fun and educational way to learn about these ancient creatures. Some popular books for kids include “Dinosaurs Before Dark” by Mary Pope Osborne and “How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?” by Jane Yolen. For adults, “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs” by Steve Brusatte is a highly regarded book that provides a comprehensive overview of the history of dinosaurs.
  4. Websites: Many websites offer information about dinosaurs and paleontology. Some popular sites include the Detroit Historical Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, the Natural History Museum, and the Paleontological Society’s website. These sites offer a wealth of information about dinosaurs, including their anatomy, behavior, and the environments in which they lived.


The Detroit Triceratops is a truly unique and fascinating attraction that offers a glimpse into the ancient history of our planet. From its discovery and excavation to its display at the Detroit Science Center, the triceratops skeleton has captivated visitors and scientists alike with its size, rarity, and scientific significance.

Whether you’re a dinosaur enthusiast or just looking for a fun and educational outing, the Detroit Triceratops is worth a visit. With interactive exhibits, guided tours, and hands-on activities, there’s something for everyone at this prehistoric wonder.

In addition to the Detroit Triceratops, many other resources are available for those who want to learn more about dinosaurs and paleontology. From nearby attractions like the Paleontological Research Institution and Dinosaur State Park to books, movies, and websites, there are endless opportunities to explore the world of dinosaurs and discover their enduring appeal.

So if you’re ready to roar into the past and discover the Detroit Triceratops, add this must-see attraction to your list.

Photo of author
About the author
Growing up in Detroit, Lindsey is a Michigan State University alumnus. She feels incredibly lucky to live in Detroit, and much more, to spend her days promoting the Detroit area as a travel destination.