Europe's "Jurassic Park"
Dinosaur model in La Rioja
Dinosaur prints in Enciso (La Rioja)
Model dinosaur in Soria
Once upon a time, 150 million years ago, huge creatures called dinosaurs ruled the earth... This could be a story or a science fiction film, but it really happened. Spain is an international point of reference in palaeontology. Now you too can play games to discover the habits of those weird and wonderful animals. Get ready - this is a great adventure to experience as a family.
Children and adults alike have always been fascinated by the story of the dinosaurs and their mysterious disappearance. This is an enigma that scientists continue trying to unravel from the remains discovered. Ichnite (fossil footprints) sites in Spain are amongst the world's most important for the quantity, quality and variety of the tracks to be found. They represent almost all the different types and sizes of animals - footprints that have served to reveal, for the first time, certain species and trails that are rarely seen in other places. Let your child become an intrepid palaeontologist and accompany him/her on this exciting journey into prehistory: Spain's dinosaur routes.
Following the trail
There are many sites in Spain with easy access, whether on foot or by road, and they are well prepared for visits: they are perfectly signposted, with information panels throughout the route that will help you understand everything you are seeing. There are even life-sized models of dinosaurs. These sites are often in open countryside and there are specialist guide services available.
The best thing is to go to one of the information or palaeontology centres first. They are normally located in nearby towns and villages. Here you will be introduced to the world of the dinosaurs and their life in an enjoyable, educational way, using audiovisual aids, models and fossils. You will receive information on the remains that you are going to see and their importance, along with details on guided tours available. Later, once at the site, you can have fun with your children, investigating and seeing for yourself everything you have been told previously.
En route with the dinosaurs
La Rioja , Soria, Asturias and Teruel are places where you can follow the trail of these formidable saurian creatures. Children will have a great time trying to be first to discover a certain print, or trying to walk like dinosaurs to learn what their movements were like.
In northern Spain, in the Region of La Rioja, 72 kilometres from Logroño, you will find the village of Enciso: at its Palaeontological Centre, you can find out details on the 40 sites in the area. These include Valdecillo, one of the most straightforward sites to interpret; Conargo, where it looks like the dinosaurs have just passed, its prints are of such good quality; and Era del Peladillo, in Igea, which is the Europe's no.1 and the world's no. 3 site in terms of number of prints. In Igea, you can also visit the La Rioja Palaeontological Centre.
Very close by, in Soria, you can also learn about these creatures' habits at the Villar del Río Palaeontological Centre and the nearby sites. Further north, in Asturias, the coastal area with the towns of Villaviciosa, Colunga and Ribadesella makes up another famous route. Here you can see tracks such as those at La Griega beach, some of the largest in the world. In Colunga, don't miss the Asturias Jurassic Museum (MUJA), which is notable for the unique form of the ichnites there. If you decide to go to the city of Teruel, after a visit to the nearby site at Galve, take your children to the Dinópolis theme park. You won't regret it.
Make the most of the opportunity: come to Spain and treat your children to a fascinating journey back in time. Welcome to the Jurassic age.