A lot or a little?
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dino Ranch is about a family that lives on a dude ranch, except that they're managing dinosaurs instead of livestock. The show features a racially diverse adoptive family, and all of the characters are great role models. There's a moderate amount of scariness as the family deals with problems on the ranch, though it never seems like any characters are about to get hurt. Parents of young dino fans should consider their child's sensitivity to things like loud, sometimes aggressive dinosaurs and scenes where human kids are in a bit of danger.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Past meets present in Dino Ranch, a dude ranch where the Cassidy family takes care of dinosaurs instead of livestock. Ma (Jane) and Pa (Bo) live with their three adopted kids on Dino Ranch. Jon is a confident cowboy, Min is an aspiring dinosaur doctor, and Miguel is the resident gadget inventor. Every day on the ranch brings new challenges, whether it's training a young Pachycephalosaurus not to head butt all the other dinosaurs, or finding the antidote to help a sick Brontosaurus who ate a poisonous plant. The Cassidy kids have to work together with their parents to overcome the obstacles of ranch life, while having dino-sized fun along the way.
Is it any good?
Dino Ranch will delight dinosaur-obsessed kids, but less prehistorically-inclined kids may find the show somewhat lackluster (and grown-ups may wonder why in the world there are dinosaurs on a ranch). Looking past that inaccuracy, the dinosaur ranch conceit is pretty fun. Viewers will especially love seeing the human kids taking care of adorable baby dinosaurs and engaging in wild-west lassoing antics atop of dinosaurs. All sorts of cool dinosaurs are showcased in the stories, so there's a bit of educational content sprinkled throughout.
The episodes do a good job of highlighting social-emotional lessons, but the family members are such unrealistically perfect role models it makes the storylines feel less real and the takeaways less potent. Also, the pro-social messages are more aimed at preschool kids, and some of the dinosaur adventures may be too scary for that age group. It's wonderful that this show is making an effort at diverse representation, but it would be even stronger if the episodes talked more explicitly about the kids being adopted and mentioned the characters' cultural backgrounds by name.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the Cassidy family used teamwork to solve a problem on the ranch. Would they have figured out a solution if they were just working alone?
Did dinosaurs ever live together with people? Are dinosaurs alive today? Do you think it would be fun to take care of dinosaurs if they were alive?
Have you ever been to a ranch or a farm? Do you think you would like living on a farm, or does it look like hard work?
- Premiere date: January 18, 2021
- Cast: Tyler Nathan, Ava Ro, Athena Karkanis, Jacob Mazeral, Scott Gorman
- Network: Disney Junior
- Genre: Educational
- Topics: Dinosaurs, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models
- Character strengths: Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Available on: Streaming
- Last updated: August 2, 2021
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