How To Host a Dinosaur Party for Adults

Last night I hosted a big Dinosaur Party for my friends in Austin, Texas.

group doing a cheer at a party with a dinosaur on top

I’ll show you how to host a dinosaur party for adults, including:

  • Dinosaur facts
  • Jurassic Park trivia
  • Dinosaur games
  • Exactly what to buy
group of adults at a dinosaur party and one man in the middle is riding an inflatable brontosaurus
David, riding the brontosaurus, enjoyed his time at our dinosaur party
three women with a small sign that says WELCOME TO THE DINOSAUR PARTY
Sam, Sophia, and Caroline welcoming you to my dinosaur party

Why You Should Host a Dinosaur Party

Perhaps you are wondering: Aren’t dinosaurs a kids thing?

Yes. But they can also be an adult thing.

Dinosaurs are a gateway drug to science.

They are an access point to think and talk about life, science, and biology.

people gathering around a large screen with a T-Rex to learn dinosaur facts at a dinosaur party
People showed up in droves to learn fun dinosaur facts. And even though my closest friends are all vaccinated against COVID-19, we still had doors and windows open, fans going, and later moved the party outdoors.

Disclaimer: My Friend is a Dinosaur Expert

I invited my friend Dustin Growick to visit me in Austin. He is a world-famous dinosaur expert.

Dinosaur Whisperer aka Dustin Growick standing in front of a dinosaur tapestry (man wearing a gray shirt and brown pants)
Dustin roasting this visually appealing yet factually inaccurate dinosaur poster.

Now, this is an unfair advantage: You probably don’t have a friend who goes by the name “Dinosaur Whisperer” online. (Instagram, Twitter)

But don’t worry. You can still host a fun party for your friends to talk about dinosaurs.

Fun fact: Dustin and I started working together 8 years ago. He designed and led our Museum Hack science tours at the American Museum of Natural History.

Seven people wearing Jurassic Park shirts for a Museum Hack company cruise
Flashback to this Museum Hack company cruise in 2015 when Dustin made us all wear Jurassic Park shirts

Dinosaur Party Invitations

First, we invited a few of our friends in Austin.

plastic toys on top of text that says Dinosaur Party Tonight
These plastic dinosaur toys will play an important role in the party later.

It turns out that many adults love dinosaurs. We received many RSVPs.

But then a LOT of people showed up. Everyone wanted to bring friends.

Group of adults gathering for a group photo outside with dinosaur poster behind them
I love meeting new people. Also: group photos are hard.
2021 NOTE: COVID-19 is real. Use your own judgement for safety concerns. The vast majority of this party was hosted outside and my closest friends are all vaccinated.

Dinosaur Decorations

Here are a few things that I bought to add to the dinosaur party theme:

Name Tags and Icebreakers

Everyone attending the party received a name tag from me.

Nick Gray (me) writing name tags at one of my cocktail parties
It is ironic that I’m not wearing a name tag. But you know what they say: sometimes the cobbler’s kids wear no shoes.

Name tags help me a lot!

I have a hard time remembering names. Name tags also help people who are introverts.

man wearing a name tag at a party, standing outside
Absolutely everyone wears a name tag at my parties. Including this guy Will who owns a cowboy boot company.

We also did icebreakers. Everyone went around the circle (a big circle!) and very, very quickly said their name and what they do for work.

Group standing in a circle outside
This might look boring, or like a very large AA meeting, but I swear it is one of the most helpful parts of a well-run social gathering.

I’m writing about why name tags and icebreakers should be used more often at social gatherings in a how-to book about party hosting. I’m not sure when I will release it, but you can read some of my thoughts on icebreakers and on name tags here.

The big thing to know is this:

Icebreakers are good to help people make new friends.

You get to learn little bits about people to maybe network with later.

But the real friends are the dinosaur facts we learned along the way.

Dinosaur Facts

Dustin made a few slides in Keynote. Then we played those slides on his laptop and projected them onto the TV with an Apple TV.

Dustin Growick standing in front of a TV with a T-Rex on it
Tyrannosaurus most likely was covered in feathers.

This was a nice way to have relevant and fun party decorations about dinosaurs. It was also nice to give some more introverted people something to watch.

You can make your own slides with clip art and random dinosaur facts online.

Dinosaur Toys

Next, buy a bag of tiny dinosaur toys. Here’s one on Amazon that Dustin says is good for under $10.

Everyone attending the party gets a tiny dinosaur toy.

collections of small dinosaur plastic toys
We told people: “You HAVE to hold onto this tiny dinosaur! Do not lose it.”

There were about 20 different types of animals inside the package. (Some of them are not technically dinosaurs. #science)

Pro tip: You must have enough dinosaurs for each person at your party.

Dinosaur Party Games

Before the party, sort all of your dinosaurs. Place them into piles of each type.

You don’t want too many different types of dinosaurs. Later you will split your party into groups.

To split people into groups, tell everyone:

Find and form groups based on the exact type of dinosaur in your hand! You have 30 seconds. Go!

Tell each person what type of dinosaur they have and how to spell it. You need to find this out beforehand.

Then, challenge the groups to look up trivia facts on their phones based on their type of dinosaur.

Pick the best piece of trivia to share to the entire party.

Man with long hair wearing a dinosaur hat
Matt tells the whole party about his type of dinosaur and his group’s favorite fun fact that they found about it
woman dressed like she's on a safari showing off a tiny dinosaur toy at a party
Sam, dressed like Dr. Ellie Sattler in Jurassic Park, shows off her dinosaur and its fun fact

The best dinosaur fact, as determined by the host, wins a prize.

Jurassic Park Trivia

Almost everyone has seen the movie Jurassic Park. Dustin says it’s obviously the greatest cinematic achievement of all-time.

We called everyone together outside and split them into groups again, this time based on the color of their name tags.

We split people into groups so they can introduce themselves again and meet some new people at the party.

These are the name tags that I currently like best, as of May 2021.

We asked these Jurassic Park trivia questions:

  1. In what year was the movie Jurassic Park released?
    Answer: 1993
  2. What is the first dinosaur that is seen on screen?
    Answer: Velociraptor. Brachiosaurus is the second
  3. What was the name of the eccentric cartoon character that explains how the Jurassic Park scientists cloned the dinosaurs?
    Answer: Mr. DNA

The first group to shout out the answer won.

We awarded large inflatable dinosaurs as prizes.

Man holding an inflatable T-Rex prize at a dinosaur party for adults
Jeff from Chubby Diaries won an inflatable T. rex for his Jurassic Park knowledge

These are the blow-up dinosaurs I bought:

American man (Noah Kagan) holding an inflatable T-Rex outside at a party
Noah Kagan holding an inflatable T. rex
Woman holding an inflatable brontosaurus
Keep your eye on the prize! Courtney holding an inflatable brontosaurus

Summary and Conclusion

This was so much fun. Major thanks to my friend Dustin and to everyone who attended.

Group photo from our Adult Dinosaur Party in Austin Texas 2021
Group photo. Thanks to Isaac from Treadfast Media for taking these pics.

Hosting a dinosaur party for adults is an excellent way to talk about science and meet new people.

The point of the party wasn’t necessarily to learn about dinosaurs. That’s just the hook.

The purpose of party is to make new friends and meet interesting people.

a woman named Madi Taskett standing at a party outside
This is Madi Taskett. She’s great. Thanks to my buddy Taylor McKnight for introducing us.

Everyone can use a new friend, especially after this past year.

Dinosaurs are a great way to get there.

A man named David Shapiro holding an inflatable brontosaurus dinosaur
It was an excellent evening of science education and meeting new friends. You can do this, too! Your friends will love it.

More Information

  • Follow Dustin Growick, The Dinosaur Whisperer, on Instagram and on Twitter.
  • Thanks to Isaac Rodriguez from Treadfast Media for taking pictures at the party.
  • My party handbook about how to host the most amazing 2-hour happy hour will come out… sometime? I’m not sure when. COVID-19 has thrown my plans for a wrench. Until then, check out the site I made with a bunch of party hosting notes — www.party.pro
  • Are you in Austin, or elsewhere, and want to attend one of my parties like this? Sign up for my free Friends Newletter and then reply back to one of the welcome emails and tell me what you’re working on.

THE END!! Thank you for reading.

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