Dinosaur Isle landed on Sandown's seafront next to a former boating lake in August 2001 – or so it would seem as the building is in the shape of a giant flying Pterosaur dinosaur. It was the first purpose-built dinosaur museum in this country and cost £2.7m, half of which came from a lottery grant from the Millennium Commission, and it certainly makes a statement.
After entering, via its 'mouth' you begin at the 'Ice Age' with the most recent finds of ancient mammals from the Newtown Creek area. As you walk through the corridors you are going further back in time...
One of the most striking exhibits in this area is the life size Ichthyosaur swimming in the sea surrounded by brightly coloured ammonites, which came from 'Walking with Dinosaurs' the series.
Walk into the huge centre of the museum and you meet life-size animatronic dinosaurs in their 'natural' habitat and the sounds these creatures might have made are triggered by sensors hanging from the ceiling. Just inside the door is a pneumatic dinosaur that you can operate.
On the 'identifying' table are fossils you can touch and it's here you bring your finds to ask one of the qualified palaeontologists to identify them. Another activity asks you to stick your hands into boxes to feel what is inside – dinosaur poo, called Coprolite, being is one of the things you feel!
There's a Sauropod found near the Dinosaur Farm, displayed as a life size skeleton and a 'Neovenator' dinosaur, mounted into the wall in a glass case and there are remains of an Eotyrannus and a Goniopholis (a type of crocodile).
So many dinosaurs and many are life sized – you'll love it.