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Dinosaurland Fossil Museum (Dorset)

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Address: Coombe St / Lyme Regis / Dorset DT7 3PY / United Kingdom

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      04.07.2013 23:46
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      DinosaurLand Fossil Musuem, Lyme Regis.

      About the Museum
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      The Dinosaurland Fossil Museum is a private museum which is owned and run by Palaeontologist Steve Davies and his wife Jenny. The museum contains a spectacular collection of the local Jurassic marine fossils. The collection grows each year and is now probably the best fossil collection on public display in SW England. It is a traditional museum using the beauty and majesty of more than 9000 specimens to show people just how exciting and wonderful the world of fossils and dinosaurs really is. Dinosaurland Fossil Museum is housed in a magnificent grade 1 listed building which was once the Congregational Church. The pioneering fossil hunter Mary Anning was baptised here on 27th June 1799 and continued to worship here until about 1830. She discovered the first Ichthyosaur on the beaches here in 1811. Steve left and bought the building that Dinosaurland Fossil Museum is housed in. He collects the fossils, makes the exhibits, writes the text, and with Jenny's help has made it a very personal museum. The collection continues to grow through new finds and purchases. The museum is 100% self-financing and receives no public funding or grants. The only source of income comes from admission fees which are used to maintain the building and develop the collection.

      (Please note that the above information has been taken from the website).

      My older nephew loves dinosaurs and looking for fossils and after a disappointing trip to the Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester earlier in the week we decided to go to visit this museum in Lyme Regis which had really good reviews about it on Trip Advisor. We weren't really sure what to expect, how-ever we were sure it would be better than the one we visited in Dorchester. We were also planning to look around the town and possibly visit other attractions here too. We were staying in Weymouth so it would take approximately an hour or just under to get to Lyme Regis by car.

      Getting There
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      The museum is situated in the narrow streets of the Old Town which means there is no car parking on site. We drove from Weymouth and stayed in a long stay car park which cost us £1.70 for the day. The museum was a short walk from the car-park and was reasonably easy to find with help from the map on the leaflet we picked up from the tourist information at Weymouth. There are various bus services to Lyme Regis as well.

      Prices
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      Adults - £5.00
      Children (ages 5-16) - £4.00
      Under 5's - Free
      Family ticket (2 adults & 2 children) - £16.00
      School discounts are available for school trips which must be booked in advance and paid on the day.

      The Museum
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      The building in which the Museum is located is beautiful and looks stunning from the outside. There was a large step which we had to lift the push-chair up to get into the museum. When entering the museum you will see the shop which contains and huge ranges of different items that you can purchase (more information about the shop to come later). We went up to the desk and spoke to a kind lady whom took our money so we could enter the museum. She also asked if my older nephew would like to take part in the quiz, in which a small prize is rewarded at the end of it. We decided to do this and would help my nephew complete it. The lady showed up through a door where we entered the main museum. She told us to enter the room of the left which gave us an introduction to fossiling and the tools used to help collect fossils. There was also some information on the local area in which are lot of the fossils are found. There was a lot of reading information which me and my sister read and which I found very interesting. My nephew enjoyed looking at some of the items in the display cabinet which showed the tools and first fossils that they found for the museum. We moved our way round the museum which contained different sections of different types of fossils and information. This was really interesting to look at and read. There was plenty of room for us to take the push-chair around with us and there would be room for disabled users in here. My nephew loved the sections about dinosaurs which had dinosaur eggs and dinosaur poo in. He also liked looking at the different teeth and other parts of animals that were on show.

      About half way round the museum is a play area for small children which contain a rocky scenery (made from plastic) and some plastic dinosaurs which they can play with.
      There are some wooden stairs which leads to the upstairs of the museum where is has life-size models of different dinosaurs and information about them. We couldn't get the push-chair up here so we took it in turns between us to go up here whilst someone looked after my nephew in the push-chair. You could also see the whole view of the museum from upstairs which was good and you could appreciate how big it was and how much it actually contained. After coming back downstairs (there was separate stairs for up & down) we continued looking at all the different displays of fossils and information which included fossilised fish and a huge section on Ammonites. These are beautiful fossils and they varied in shape and size. My nephew enjoyed touching some of the larger of these fossils which were on the floor of the museum due to them being so big. The museum had so many interesting and different fossils to look at and read about which was really interesting. During our time here there were only a few other visitors in here so we could move around the museum easily. We spent a good amount of time in here reading the information and taking in all the different fossils and items.

      We exited the museum and gave the lady at the counter the quiz paper which we completed. She checked the answers which were all right and my nephews were then allowed to choose a small polished gemstone from the basket which the lady held out for them. My older nephew chose a lovely blue gemstone and my younger nephew took two instead of one, how-ever she didn't mind this. We had a look in the shop which contained a huge range of different fossils available to buy and different gemstones. There were also dinosaur themed items such as cuddly dinosaurs. My nephew purchased some fossilised wood, a small dolphin tooth and some coloured crystal rock. Some of the items such as the dolphin tooth were present nicely in a clear box so you could keep it safe. My dad purchased some crystallised rock for just £1.00 each which we thought was reasonable. I liked the gem-stones which had been polished and turned into different shapes. I purchased a gem-stone which was heart shape and black in colour. This cost me about £2.50 which I thought was reasonable and would be a good reminder from my trip here.

      Overall Opinion
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      We did have high hopes of this museum due to the previous one we had visited in Dorchester being so rubbish and a waste of money and time. The museum had so many different fossils in and things to look at and was truly amazing. Me, my sister and dad enjoyed reading the information and looked at all the different fossils and my older nephew loved looking and touching some of the fossils. He particularly enjoyed looking at the Dinosaur sections. In terms of value I thought the admission fee was very reasonable as there was plenty to see and it takes at least over 40mins to see everything in the museum. I think we stayed in here for an hour at least, before leaving. I think it's great that you can touch some of the fossils and get a really good look at them. The way the fossils and information is set out is brilliant and couldn't have been done any better. The gift shop was amazing and had such as huge range of items to choose from which were all very reasonably priced which I was a little shocked at. My dad enjoyed the museum so much that he said that he would like to take my Mum there when they visit Weymouth in September this year. I think the museum would appeal to a lot of people, particularly older people who enjoy looking at and reading about different fossils and how they are found. If I visit the area again I would like to visit the museum again and look at all the different fossils again and also take in some more of the information and things that are on display. I highly recommend the museum if you are in the area.

      Additional Information
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      Address: DinosaurLand Fossil Museum, Coombe Street, Lyme Regis, Dorset, DT7 3PY
      Tel: 01297 443541
      www.dinosaurland.co.uk
      Open every-day from 10am - 5pm. (Winter Opening Hours Vary)

      (review may also appear on ciao)

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