Giant Dino fun at Augustana’s Fryxell Geology Museum

I was born and raised in the Quad Cities. And now I’m raising my own son here. So, I’d like to think of myself as a bit of an expert of family-friendly fun in our region.

But still, there are times that I’m surprised to hear about those wonderful hidden gems – places I’ve never even heard of. That’s exactly what happened this month when our family discovered Augustana’s Fryxell Geology Museum.


How did we never know that we could see dinosaur fossils right here in the Quad Cities?

This museum is located inside the Swenson Hall of Geosciences (near the Admissions Office) off 38th Avenue in Rock Island. It’s free and open to the public when school is in session – hours are posted on their website.

Dinosaurs were definitely the highlight for my little dino hunter. When you enter the building, you are immediately in awe of the skeletons everywhere.

We had the chance to see a full skeleton of a Cryolophosaurus, a carnivorous dinosaur discovered in Antarctica by a Augustana professor!

My son even spotted a pterosaur on the wall of the stairway.


There were lots of wonderful stops for any dinosaur-loving family.

Inside the museum, we were greeted by a student, who showed us around and pointed out the highlights My son spotted this display of more dinosaur skulls and had a good time studying them. It was a great spot to notice the differences between species and also gave us an up-close look at those dino teeth. image5

Besides dinosaurs, we enjoyed looking at other fossils and minerals – from ancient animals, marine life and more. There is also a simple i-Spy activity near the front that gave us a chance to look for specific specimens using flash cards. It gave my preschooler a mission to accomplish.

Near the back of the museum, there was this large prehistoric sea creature, which spanned the entire width of the space.    image4

And we also made sure to check out the fluorescent mineral display in the back of the museum. (It reminds me of a small laser light show.)

This was only a small sampling of the displays available at the Fryxell Geology Museum.

It’s worth a visit to check it out for yourself. There really is something for everyone to learn and see – no matter what your age or level of dinosaur interest.


About the author

Kim Woodward Kim Woodward is a wife, mom, and freelance writer living with her husband and son in a barn in rural Geneseo, Illinois. A notorious dabbler and DIYer, she shares her projects and adventures at, and contributes to A native of the Quad Cities, she loves setting out on local adventures and discovering hidden gems in the area. She’s always on the lookout for the best live music, family-friendly activities, and cup of coffee.

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