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Aathal Dinosaur Museum and Trinity the T-Rex

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Darla Uhl

For the past few years, we’ve been regular visitors to the Aathal Dinosaur Museum. However, my main motivation for another visit was to catch a glimpse of Trinity the T-Rex. Curious about what awaits you at the Aathal Dinosaur Museum? Here’s a straightforward review, highlighting its attractions, exhibits, and whether it’s worth your time.

Image of the Dinosaur Skeleton Hall, Aathal Dinosaur Museum by TouringSwitzerland.com

What to Expect: Aathal Dinosaur Museum

Founded in 1992/1993, the Aathal Dinosaur Museum has genuine dinosaur skeletons, numerous dinosaur models, films about excavation, and other related topics like fossils, amber, and more.

Image of the Original Galeamopus Max, Aathal Dinosaur Museum by TouringSwitzerland.com

What makes the Dinosaur Museum special is that it’s the only dinosaur museum in the world with ten self-excavated original skeletons. The team at Aathal Dinosaur Museum has been excavating under the leadership of Hans-Jakob Siber in the Howe Dinosaur Quarry in Wyoming, USA since 1990.

With the success of these excavations, they bring the bones to the museum’s lab and prepare them at the Aathal Dinosaur Museum for display in the highest quality. As a result, the museum’s collections are renowned worldwide.

Among the skeletons you can expect are the following:

  1. Allosaurus “Big Al Two”
  2. Camarasaurus “E.T.”
  3. Diplodocus “H.Q. Eins”
  4. Stegosaurus “Moritz”
  5. Sauropod “Toni Baby”
  6. Othnielosaurus “Barbara”
  7. Stegosaurus “Victoria”
  8. Hesperosaurus “Lilly”
  9. Kaatedocus siberi “H.Q. Zwei”
  10. Galeamopus “MaX”

E.T., Big Al Two, and Lilly are among the best original skeletons that you can find in the entire world. You’ll discover most of the skeletons in the large central hall of the museum.

I found these to be incredibly impressive, especially when considering all the effort, care, and dedication involved in excavating, preparing, and properly preserving each of these skeletons. It’s all done so that we can see and learn from them.


Image of the Trinity the T-Rex, Aathal Dinosaur Museum by TouringSwitzerland.com

Until January 19, 2025, you’ll get the opportunity to see Trinity the T-Rex at the Aathal Dinosaur Museum. What makes this T-Rex special, you ask? Trinity is considered one of the finest T-Rex skeletons worldwide. Why? Because it’s made up of a well-preserved original fossil consisting of bones from three Tyrannosaurus specimens found between 2008 and 2013 in the Hell Creek Formation near Jordan, Montana, and the Lance Formation in Lance Creek, Wyoming.

This 67-million-year-old T-Rex, standing at 11.6 meters long and 4.37 meters high, consists of 293 bones meticulously prepped, cleaned, and restored by a dedicated team of paleontologists, preparators, and conservators. It boasts one of the highest bone contents among all known specimens.1 The Phoebus Foundation purchased the T-Rex bones, and they will be moved to Belgium after staying at the Aathal Dinosaur Museum.2

What grabbed my attention about its structure wasn’t just its huge size, but how easy it is to picture what the actual creature looked like because of its solid build. You could see its short arms and massive legs, sharp teeth, tail length, and shape, as well as the arrangement of vertebrae and ribcage.

I’m relieved that there aren’t any real dinosaurs alive today, as these creatures were truly both frightening and impressive.


Image of the Documentary of the Aathal Dinosaur Museum Excavations by TouringSwitzerland.com

You’ll find several places in the museum where you can watch documentaries and films.

One standout spot is in the dinosaur hall, where they demonstrate how the excavations were conducted and offer insights into the skeletons. Although all the documentaries and videos are interesting, if I had to pick one, it would be this particular one because it stands out as the most unique, and it directly relates to the museum’s work and legacy.

Another film continuously plays on repeat at the basement level, focusing on meteorites and how they impacted the extinction of dinosaurs.

Throughout the museum, you’ll find short video clips about dinosaur cartoons or documentaries playing on smaller screens for you to watch.


Image of the Aathal Dinosaur Museum by TouringSwitzerland.com

Aside from the dinosaur skeletons, you’ll also come across dinosaur models. Some dinosaur models that are in the 1:10 scale are the Ankylosaurus and Euplocephalus. There are plenty of different models for you to explore, and most of them have signs nearby explaining what they are, where they used to live, and how big they were. Unfortunately, most signs are in German, so you’ll have to translate them yourself.

Additionally, there are interactive stations throughout the museum where children can learn more about dinosaurs. In one area, you can consider different questions and try to guess the correct answers.

Moreover, guests can discover Switzerland’s significant dinosaur excavation sites. The most well-known dinosaur sites in Switzerland are the following:

  • Monte San Giorgio in Ticino
  • Courtedoux in Jura
  • Moutier in Bern
  • Frick in Aargau
  • Piz dal Diavel in Graubünden

Furthermore, there’s a dedicated section showcasing trilobites, ancient marine creatures resembling today’s crabs and scorpions. There’s also a small area dedicated to amber and the tiny insects preserved within it.

The whole permanent exhibition is fascinating on its own. I’d say it’s similar to what you might find in other natural history or paleontological museums across the country, but perhaps with a greater emphasis on dinosaurs and fossils.


Inside the museum, you’ll find the following facilities and equipment available:

  • Museum Restaurant: You’ll find a basic, self-service restaurant located in the back of the museum on the second floor. They offer simple meals like Älplermagronen, fries, hotdogs, and beverages. You can also bring your food to eat there, as long as you purchase drinks from them.
  • Coat Rack and Lockers: You’ll find places to hang your jackets/coats and leave your belongings. Lockers are located inside the toilet area.
  • Museum Shop: Close to the entrance, there’s a small museum shop where you can buy all sorts of dinosaur-related stuff like books, toys, plush animals, and gifts.
  • Rock Shop: You’ll also find lovely stones and minerals at the rock shop close to the cashier.
  • Toilets and Changing Areas: Restrooms and diaper changing areas are available for your convenience.

My Honest Review of the Aathal Dinosaur Museum

Image of the Aathal Dinosaur Museum by TouringSwitzerland.com

The Aathal Dinosaur Museum offers a great variety of dinosaur specimens and fossils, especially the original skeletons, which are quite impressive. In my opinion, it’s the best of its kind in Switzerland. The exhibits are well-presented and maintained, though some areas felt a bit cramped.

Visitors of all ages can learn a lot here. For those who understand German, everything is accessible, but non-German speakers may need to do some translating as not everything is available in English (or French and Italian for those coming from other parts of Switzerland).

Staff mostly stay at the cashier and restaurant. I’ve never seen anyone giving impromptu lessons or answering questions for free, but guided tours can be booked for groups for a fee. Nevertheless, you can expect friendly staff on-site.

The museum layout is easy to navigate. Unlike IKEA, where you’re forced along a set route, here the sections are organized thematically. You can explore each floor at your own pace, making it easy to get around without needing a floor plan.

Overall, I’ve always been a big fan of the Aathal Dinosaur Museum. Even after multiple visits, I find it fascinating. I’m grateful to those passionate about dinosaurs who dig and gather information for us all.

I highly recommend a visit, especially for dinosaur enthusiasts. You won’t be disappointed. Oh, and try to visit before January 2025 while Trinity is still on display.


Aathal Dinosaur Museum: How To Get There

Image of the Aathal Dinosaur Museum by TouringSwitzerland.com

The Aathal Dinosaur Museum is in Aathal, Canton Zurich, just a brief walk from the train station. If you’re traveling from Zurich, catch the S14 train heading to Hinwil and hop off at Aathal.

Moreover, there’s a spacious parking lot adjacent to the museum. If it’s full, there’s another parking area across the street.

AddressZürichstrasse 69
8607 Aathal
TrainAathal (11-minute walk)

Museums in Switzerland with Dinosaurs

Image of the Paleontological Museum in Zurich by TouringSwitzerland.com

The Aathal Dinosaur Museum isn’t the sole dinosaur museum in Switzerland. Here’s a list of all the other museums across the country that focus on dinosaurs or have dedicated sections to them:

MuseumAddressWhat to Expect
Sauriermuseum FrickSchulstrasse 22, 5070 Frick– Skeletons and bones from Plateosaurus from the excavation in Frick
Naturmuseum St. GallenRorschacher Str. 263, 9016 St. Gallen– Skeleton from Anatosaurus with a reconstruction
Préhisto-Parc, Les GrottesRte des Grottes 78c, 2912 Réclère– Open-Air Museum with dinosaurs
Naturhistorisches Museum BaselAugustinergasse 2, 4051 Basel– Track slab from Emosson
– Skeleton assembly and reconstruction of Plateosaurus
– Skull from Tyrannosaurus rex
– Skeleton remains of sauropods from Moutier, Switzerland
Naturmuseum SolothurnKlosterpl. 2, 4500 Solothurn– Skull and three-dimensional reconstruction of Tyrannosaurus rex,
– Complete foot of Camarasaurus from America
– Brontosaurus track for sitting
– Bones and teeth of predatory dinosaurs from Solothurn
– Documentation of a track discovery site in Lommiswil, Switzerland
Paleontological Museum ZurichKarl-Schmid-Strasse 4, 8006 Zürich– Documentation about dinosaur remains in Switzerland
– Dinosaur track findings at Piz dal Diavel
Muséum d’histoire naturelle de GeneveRte de Malagnou 1, 1208 Genève– Track slab from Emosson
– Three-dimensional reconstructions of dinosaurs

Final Thoughts: Is the Aathal Dinosaur Museum Visiting?

The Aathal Dinosaur Museum is a fascinating museum near Zurich, offering an exciting journey back to prehistoric times without going too far. It’s a mix of nature, history, and science that appeals to everyone, whether you’re with family, a partner, or exploring solo. Children, especially those who love dinosaurs, will have a great time here.

Considering the extensive time spent excavating and preparing the bones, I believe the admission fee is very reasonable. It also covers everything the museum offers. Plus, it’s well-kept and tidy, making it a pleasant place to explore.

I was amazed by the variety of dinosaur specimens and skeletons in here. If you like earth sciences, paleontology, zoology, and conservation, the Aathal Dinosaur Museum is a must-see attraction.

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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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