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Dino Expedition at Betteshanger Country Park in Deal is a big hit with Jurassic World fans


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Dinosaur hunters beware! A dinosaur is on the loose at a country park in Kent.

The team at Betteshanger Park in Deal have created their own breed of dinosaur but it has escaped its enclosure.

We went looking for the escaped dinosaur at Betteshanger Country Park
We went looking for the escaped dinosaur at Betteshanger Country Park

Those brave enough to join the new trail at the country park have to try to track down the creature with the help of the rangers.

But before that you get to go fossil hunting at the park's quarry – a unique area full of genuine fossils that have laid undisturbed for millions of years.

We joined one of the first groups to enjoy the new Dino Expedition experience at Betteshanger which has been launched just as the new Jurassic World Dominion film hits our cinema screens.

After meeting one of the guides at the cycle hire shed, we were led on a short walk through the park to the quarry.

The Dino Expedition at Betteshanger Country Park
The Dino Expedition at Betteshanger Country Park

Curated especially for this summer, the experience is done in small groups so we were there with about half a dozen other mini dinosaur enthusiasts along with their parents and grandparents.

When we arrived at the dinosaur area, it looked very much like a set from Jurassic Park, much to the delight of the movie fans in our group.

Our guide told us a bit about why Betteshanger is a great spot for fossil hunting.

The park was once the spoil tip from Betteshanger Colliery, one of the largest collieries in Kent which closed in 1989, which means it is bursting with fossils.

Our guide tells us about why Betteshanger is a good place to hunt for fossils
Our guide tells us about why Betteshanger is a good place to hunt for fossils

We were shown some examples of fossils which have been found there and what we should be looking for.

Then it was time for a quick safety run through as goggles were handed out along with the brick hammers we'd digging with.

The children then got to pick a spot to start hunting.

My seven-year-old son, although not dinosaur mad like some of the other children there clearly were, loved doing this and got stuck in straight away.

My son loved hunting for fossils
My son loved hunting for fossils

My little girl is four - the minimum age for the experience- and I think she may have been a little young but enjoyed bashing rocks with a hammer none the less.

The children found plenty of fossils - no dinosaur bones unfortunately - but fossilised tree bark and leaves which were still impressive.

The guides were always on hand to offer help. They were digging for fossils too and happy to share what they had found with the children (who got to take the fossils home).

There dino area has plenty of information boards so children can learn about the park's collection of dinosaur fossils including a tooth from one of the fiercest carnivores ever to have roamed the planet - the spinosaurus.

After almost an hour of digging we had a collection of fossils weighing down our pockets.

Some of the fossils we found and got to take home
Some of the fossils we found and got to take home

Then it was time to follow the clues to see if we could track down the escaped dinosaur.

There was a broken electric fence and footprints to follow before going along a path through the woods which had information boards along the way.

After finding the creature hidden between some trees, there was time for each of the children to pose for a photo before heading back through the park to the main entrance.

Although that was the end of our Dino Expedition, the park has plenty to offer for a whole day's entertainment including bike hire, geocaching and a large play area with equipment for different ages.

Visit the Betteshanger Park website to find out more and to book.

The Dino Expedition is running at weekends during term time and then on week days and weekends over the summer holidays.

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