Recreational Groups | Nature's Art Village

1650 Hartford-New London Turnpike, Montville, CT 06370


Nature's Art Village & The Dinosaur Place: 860-443-4367
The PAST & The Gateway Museum:860-437-3615


Recreational Groups

Spend a day filled with fun and excitement at The Dinosaur Place™ and Discovery Depot at Nature’s Art Village in Southeastern Connecticut. Bring your recreational group, camp, day care, or summer school for a day of educational entertainment with hands-on discovery museum activities, an outdoor adventure, a tour of our industrial heritage, or all three! Groups of 20 or more who make reservations in advance are eligible for discounted rates!

Recreational groups can choose one or more activities for kids to build their own custom programs. Picnic areas are available free on a first come, first served basis and group food, beverage, ice cream, and even goody bag orders can be scheduled prior to your visit.

For more information or to book your group trip, please contact our Guest Relations Office at 860-443-4367 or fun@naturesartvillage.com. 3 weeks advanced notice is required to book any group trip to The Dinosaur Place.


The Dinosaur Place™: A True Outdoor Adventure!

Click on the activity or plus sign to see details.

+- Outdoor Adventure: The Dinosaur Place™ (All Ages)

Available Memorial Day through Labor Day, weather permitting.

Bring the learning outside and discover an adventure of prehistoric proportions! During this enrichment activity, your group has the freedom to explore our entire outdoor adventure park at your leisure.

You will enjoy access to:

  • Over 40 life-sized dinosaurs with touch-and-learn stations and educational displays
  • 1.5 miles of pristine nature trails circumventing a 7-acre lake
  • A new animatronic dinosaur exhibit
  • The mammoth-sized a“MAZE”asaurus
  • The innovative Monty’s Playground
  • A towering, active volcano
  • Shaded picnic tables for lunch
  • The Jurassic Moonbounce

What a great way to spend the entire day!

Ask about our special recreational group rates!


+- Outdoor Adventure: The Dinosaur Place™ with Splashpad® (All Ages)

Available Memorial Day through Labor Day, weather permitting.

Bring the learning outside and discover an adventure of prehistoric proportions! During this enrichment activity, your group has the freedom to explore our entire outdoor adventure park with Splashpad® at your leisure.

You will enjoy access to:

  • Over 40 life-sized dinosaurs with touch-and-learn stations and educational displays
  • 1.5 miles of pristine nature trails circumventing a 7-acre lake
  • A new animatronic dinosaur exhibit
  • The mammoth-sized a“MAZE”asaurus
  • The innovative Monty’s Playground
  • A towering, active volcano
  • Shaded picnic tables for lunch
  • The Jurassic Moonbounce
  • New England’s largest Splashpad®

What a great way to spend the entire day!

Large groups must be sub-divided for Splashpad® use at scheduled intervals.

Shoes are required by all on the Splashpad®.

Ask about our special recreational group rates!


Indoor Activities: Discovery Depot & Gateway Museum!

If you are interested in hands-on discovery in the Discover Depot or the new Gateway Museum, click on the activity or plus sign to see details.

+- Jackpot Mine: Dig for Minerals & Gems! (Ages 4+)

In this fun activity, students start their own rock and mineral collections! They use their hands to dig for crystals, minerals, and polished stones hidden in our simulated silver mines! The best part is they get to keep it all!

Available year round.

Ask about our special recreational group rates!

Duration: 20 minutes*

  • Dig Time: 10 minutes
  • *An additional 10 minutes is applied to account for time overage, movement of groups, and packing of discovered treasures

Recommended for ages 4 & up.

Children under age 3 are not permitted for safety reasons.

All children must be out of diapers of any kind to participate.


+- Jackpot Mine with Identification: Dig and Identify Minerals & Gems! (Ages 4+)

In this fun activity, students start their own rock and mineral collections! They use their hands to dig for crystals, minerals, and polished stones hidden in our simulated silver mines! Then, accompanying instructors and trained Nature’s Art Village staff help them sort and identify their treasures. The best part is they get to keep it all!

Available year round.

Ask about our special recreational group rates!

Duration: 45 minutes

  • Dig Time: 10 minutes*
  • Identification Time: 25 minutes
  • *An additional 10 minutes is applied to account for time overage, movement of groups, and packing of discovered treasures

Recommended for ages 4 & up.

Children under age 3 are not permitted for safety reasons.

All children must be out of diapers of any kind to participate.


+- Thunder Creek: Pan for “Gold”! (All Ages)

Students travel back in time to 1849 – the beginning of the California Gold Rush! They learn the technique of panning and find as many pyrite “fool’s gold” nuggets as they can! We give them each a prospector’s pouch in which to keep their riches!

Available year round!

Ask about our special recreational group rates!

Duration: 20 minutes*

  • Panning Time: 10 minutes
  • *An additional 10 minutes is applied to account for time overage, movement of groups, and packing of discovered riches

Maximum 20 students panning at one time.

Recommended for ages 3 & up.

Children under age 3 are permitted at chaperone discretion.


+- The Bone Zone: Unearth a Dinosaur Skeleton! (Ages 4+)

Students work together as a team of paleontologists to uncover and identify a life-sized recreation dinosaur skeleton in our simulated Southwest dig sites! A trained Nature’s Art Village staff member leads the team and educates the children about the dinosaur they discover! A worksheet about the dinosaur they find will allow for the educational fun to continue back at school and at home!

Available year round!

Ask about our special recreational group rates!

Duration: 30 minutes*

  • Dig Time: 20 minutes
  • *An additional 10 minutes is applied to account for time overage, movement of groups, and answering questions

Recommended for ages 4 & up.

Children under age 3 are not permitted for safety reasons.

All children must be out of diapers of any kind to participate.


+- Geode Cutting & Friendship Geodes (All Ages)

The children in your group will love learning about nature’s lottery tickets! They learn how geodes are formed and opened then watch as one is cut in half right before their eyes. Child pairs then randomly select a pre-cut Friendship Geode and each take half home!

Available year round!

Ask about our special recreational group rates!

Duration: 30 minutes*

  • Geode Lesson & Cutting: 10 minutes
  • Geode Selection: 10 minutes
  • *An additional 10 minutes is applied to account for time overage, movement of groups, and Friendship Geode selection/packing


+- Gateway Museum Guided Tour (All Ages)

Take a historic walk back through time and discover a wide variety of exhibits that showcase the rapid transformation of  American technology from steam engines to search engines!  Your group will find marvels of engineering and stunning, little known artifacts which served as the cornerstone of many of today’s modern conveniences.

Tour groups are led by our knowledgeable trained interpreters who are ready to answer any questions you have!

When your tour is finished you may enjoy the museum for as long as you’d like!

Available year round!

Ask about our special recreational group rates!

Tour Duration: 45 minutes*

  • Tour duration is dependent upon number of questions from the children.

Group FAQs

Click on each to view answers to our most frequently asked questions.

+- May we leave and re-enter the park?

Yes, everyone entering the park will receive a bracelet, which allows re-entry on that day.

+- What if it rains?

It has been known to rain occasionally in Montville, CT. The Outdoor Adventure is open rain or shine; the Splashpad® is open seasonally, weather permitting. Please note: deposit refunds are not issued for cancellations; however, we will work with you to reschedule due to severe weather.

+- How long is an average visit?

Please allow at least 1-3 hours to visit the Outdoor Adventure and an additional 1-2 hours for the Splashpad®. Allow 30 minutes for each Indoor hands on museum Activity.

+- What is needed on the day of the visit?

Comfortable clothing, walking shoes and bottled water for the trails and Indoor Activities. Water shoes or flip flops are required on the Splashpad® and bathing suits, change of clothes and towels are recommended.

+- Are bagged lunches allowed?

Bagged lunches may be brought inside the Outdoor Adventure area with paid admission and enjoyed at our picnic tables on a first come first serve basis. Groups are responsible for storage of bagged lunches, coolers, etc. and making sure all trash is thrown in the provided receptacles. Note: Bagged lunches may not be eaten indoors. There is a free picnic area just outside the Ice Cream Shop.

+- Is a staff member assigned to our group?

You will have a trained instructor to assist you with any indoor activities. Your Outdoor Adventure is self guided. Staff members are available for assistance.

+- Are activities handicap accessible?

Indoor hands on museum activities are wheelchair accessible. Handicapped children may have an adult help them in the Jackpot Mine, Thunder Creek and/or the Bone Zone. Wide- wheeled strollers and wheelchairs are recommended for the natural packed gravel trails outdoors.

+- What is the chaperone policy?

Chaperones must be at least 18 years of age and must stay with their group at all times. One chaperone is required for every 12 students in your group and is admitted to the Outdoor Adventure at a reduced rate. Additional chaperones must pay Outdoor Adventure admission if visiting that area. Indoor activities are free to observe; participating chaperones must pay fee.

+- What are the policies for reservations and deposits?

A non-refundable deposit of $100 (minimum) is required to hold the requested date. There are no deposit refunds for cancellations, but your deposit can be credited to your account in the event of a weather-related postponement. We appreciate advanced notice of three weeks if possible when reserving a date. Deposits may be paid by check, cash, or credit card (excluding American Express). We appreciate if checks are made payable to “Nature’s Art” and include your school’s name on the memo line.

+- What is the minimum group size?

Minimum 20 participants for group rate eligibility