Jim Henson's Dinosaur Train is a preschool television series produced by The Jim Henson Company for PBS Kids. Dinosaur Train is designed to help encourage basic scientific thinking and skills as the audience learns about natural science, natural history and paleontology. The computer-animated series, with animation outsourced to Singapore, consists of forty episodes.
Created by Craig Bartlett, Dinosaur Train follows the adventures of a young tyrannosaurus rex and his adoptive family of Pteranodons.
The show is set in a whimsical prehistoric world of jungles, swamps, active volcanoes and oceans, all teeming with dinosaur and other animal life, and connected by a train line known as the Dinosaur Train. This steam-engine train is customized for dinosaurs of all kinds: windows accommodate the long-necked sauropods, there’s plenty of headroom in the Observation Car for the larger theropods, and the Aquacar is an aquarium for sea-going passengers. The train itself is run by Troodons (who get to run it because they’re the smartest dinosaurs, as they often explain, and have nimble toe claws to punch the tickets). The Dinosaur Train circles the whole world—it even crosses the oceans and inland seas, with stops to visit undersea prehistoric animals. It also has the ability to visit the entire Mesozoic Era, the “Age of Dinosaurs,” passing through magical Time Tunnels to meet the dinosaurs in the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous time periods.
The world of Dinosaur Train is seen through the eyes of Buddy, the preschool-age Tyrannosaurus. In the show’s main title song, we learn that Buddy was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Pteranodon and brought to their nest to hatch at the same time as his siblings Tiny, Shiny, and Don. By traveling in the Dinosaur Train around the Mesozoic, assisted with all dinosaur facts by the train’s Troodon Conductor, Buddy quickly learns that he is a Tyrannosaurus. As an adopted kid in a mixed-species family, Buddy is especially curious about the differences between species and vows to learn about all the dinosaurs he can by riding the Dinosaur Train.
Dinosaur Train is co-produced and animated by Sparky Animation Studios in Singapore, with casting by Vidaspark and voice-overs recorded at Kozmic Sound in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It premiered on Labor Day 2009 and airs daily on PBS Kids, and in various countries around the world. 40 half-hour episodes have been ordered by PBS Kids so far. Each episode is followed by a live-action segment featuring Dinosaur Train educational consultant and world-renowned paleontologist Dr. Scott D. Sampson, who appears onscreen to explain the show’s dinosaur curriculum in greater detail, sometimes assisted by a character known as “Mr. Disclaimer” (played by Dinosaur Train Story Editor Joe Purdy), who points out details like “Dinosaurs did not actually perform musical concerts,” or “Dinosaurs did not actually play Dinoball.”
- Buddy (voiced by Phillip Corlett) – A curious and intelligent T-Rex who likes to ask questions and form hypotheses. He was adopted by the Pteranodon family after being discovered as an egg. Some episodes name him "Buddy Tyrannosaurus" while others name him "Buddy Pterandon". Since Buddy is incapable of flight, as all T-Rex dinosaurs were, he is the spotter for the Pteranodon family, which means it is his job to spot fish for the Pteranodons to catch. Buddy's color is Orange in his family.
- Tiny (voiced by Claire Corlett) – A Pteranodon who likes rhymes and approaches dinosaurs with the confidence of a news reporter. Tiny's color is Green like Don and her parents.
- Shiny (voiced by Erika-Shaye Gair) – A Pteranodon who is less tomboyish than Tiny and loves roleplaying with her siblings. Shiny is a Pteranodon just like her parents and Don and Tiny, except that her color is Aqua, making her different from her family whose color appears Green.
- Don (voiced by Alexander Matthew Marr) – A goofy Pteranodon who enjoys dancing and having a collection. Don is a Pteranodon like his parents and sisters, only he's a little wider than Shiny and Tiny.
- Mr. Conductor (voiced by Ian James Corlett) – A Troodon who operates the Dinosaur Train. He is a special friend to Buddy; although he prefers to be called Mr. Conductor by everyone except his mother (Mrs. Troodon) and Don (who calls him "Mr. The Conductor" by mistake). Whenever the Dinosaur Train approaches a time tunnel, the conductor says, "Time Tunnel, Time Tunnel Approaching!" He also hides his feathers under his hat. Mr. Conductor gets shy around his mother.
- Mrs. Pteranodon (voiced by Ellen Kennedy) – The mother. She is a teacher, companion, very nice and thinks of herself as the ultimate tour guide. Unlike most other adult female characters in the series, her first name is never revealed in the series. Her children introduce her to other dinosaurs as "Our Mom, 'Mom'."
- Mr. Pteranodon (voiced by Colin Murdock) – The father of the Pteranodon family. He likes to think of himself as the family's coach. One of his interests is taking Don and Shiny on fishing expeditions while Buddy and Tiny ride the Dinosaur Train with his wife.
- Valley of the Stygimolochs / Tiny Loves Fish [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Stygimoloch / Pteranodon)
- The Call of the Wild Corythosaurus / Triceratops for Lunch [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Corythosaurus / Triceratops)
- Beating the Heat / Flowers for Mom [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Stegosaurus / Bees)
- I'm a T. Rex! / Ned the Quadruped [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Tyrannosaurus / Brachiosaurus)
- One Smart Dinosaur / Petey the Peteinosaurus [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Troodon / Peteinosaurus)
- Fast Friends / T. Rex Teeth [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Ornithomimus / Tyrannosaurus teeth)
- Now With Feathers! / A Frill a Minute [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Velociraptor / Triceratops defenses)
- One Big Dinosaur / Play Date with Annie [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Argentinosaurus / Tyrannosaurus senses)
- Armored Like an Ankylosaurus / Campout! [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Ankylosaurus / Palaeobatrachus)
- Laura the Giganotosaurus / Dinosaur Poop [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Giganotosaurus / Poop)
- Derek the Deinonychus / Don's Dragonfly [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Deinonychus / Dragonflies)
- One Small Dinosaur / T. Rex Migration [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Microraptor / Tyrannosaurus Behavior)
- Hootin' Hadrosaurs! / Surprise Party [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Hadrosaurs and Parasaurolophus / Beetles)
- The Theropod Club / Hatching Party [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Allosaurus / Eggs)
- The Old Spinosaurus and the Sea / A Spiky Tail Tale [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Spinosaurus / Stegosaurus tail)
- Night Train / Fossil Fred [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Troodon Nocturnal lifestyle / Fossils)
- Dinosaurs in the Snow / Cretaceous Conifers [ 2009 ] (lessons taught: Troodon Ranges / Conifers)
- The Burrowers / Shiny's Sea Shells [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Oryctodromeus / Seashells)
- King Cryolophosaurus / Buddy the Tracker [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Cryolophosaurus / Footprints)
- The Old Bird / Diamond Don [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Archaeopteryx / Minerals)
- Dinosaur Camouflage / Family Scavenger Hunt [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Lesothosaurus / Drosera)
- Have You Heard About the Herd? / Jess Hesperornis [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Einiosaurus / Hesperornis)
- Triassic Turtle / Tank's Baby Brother [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Proganochelys / Offspring)
- Erma Eoraptor / Under The Volcano [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Eoraptor / Volcanoes)
- Pteranodon Family World Tour / Gilbert The Junior Conductor [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Amargasaurus / South America)
- Confuciusornis Says / Tiny's Tiny Doll [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Confuciusornis / Asia)
- Iggy Iguanodon / Shiny Can't Sleep [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Iguanodon / Sleep)
- Kenny Kentrosarus / Don And The Troodons [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Kentrosaurus / Africa)
- Long Claws / Tank's Sleep Over [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Therizinosaurus / Sleep (non-human))
- New Neighbors / Don's Collection [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Lambeosaurus / Collections)
- The Wing Kings / The Big Mud Pit [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Quetzalcoatlus / Mud)
- Buck-Tooth Bucky / Tiny's Tiny Friend [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Masiakasaurus / Cimolestes)
- An Armored Tail Tale / Pterosaur Flying Club [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Euoplocephalus / Pterosaur)
- Great Big Stomping Dinosaur Feet! / Hornucopia! [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Daspletosaurus / Styracosaurus)
- The Good Mom / Diamond Anniversary [ 2011 ] (lessons taught: Maiasaura / Caves)
- Elmer Elasmosaurus / Dinosaur Block Party [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Elasmosaurus / Ecosystems)
- Paulie Pliosaurus / Elmer Visits the Desert [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Pliosaurus / Deserts)
- Carla Cretoxyrhina / Train Trouble [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Cretoxyrhina / Trains)
- The Amazing Michelinoceras Brothers / Dad's Day Out [ 2010 ] (lessons taught: Michelinoceras / Weather)
- Junior Conductor Jamboree / Troodon Train Day [ 2011 ] (lessons taught: Mesozoic / Steam engines)
- Dinosaur Big City, Pt. 1 / Dinosaur Big City Pt. 2 (lessons taught: Laramidia / Theropods) (in general)
- Dinosaur Big City Pt. 3 / Dinosaur Big City Pt. 4 (lessons taught: Kosmoceratops / Paleontologists)
- Stargazing on the Night Train / Get Into Nature! (lessons taught: Sinovenator and Constellations / Tide pools)
- Shiny and Snakes / Tiny Loves Flowers (lessons taught: Sanajeh / Flowers)
- Buddy Explores The Tyrannosaurs / Rainy Day Fight (lessons taught: Raptorex / Beaches)
- That's Not A Dinosaur / Tiny's Garden (lessons taught: Amphibians / Gardens)
- The Earthquake / Nursery Car (lessons taught: Ceratopsians / Dinosaur eggs)
- The Lost Bird / The Forest Fire (lessons taught: Jeholornis / Redwood trees)
- Dry Times at Pteranodon Terrace / Big Misty Sea Fishing Contest (lessons taught: Droughts / Piscivores)
- Hurricane at Pteranodon Terrace / Rafting The Cretaceous (lessons taught: Hurricanes / Rafts)
- Haunted Roundhouse / Big Pond Pumpkin Patch (lessons taught: Volaticotherium / The Moon)
- Don's Winter Wish / Festival of Lights (lessons taught: Saurornitholestes / Aurora)
- Dinosaur Train Submarine: Otto Ophthalmosaurus / King Meets Crystal (lessons taught: Ophthalmosaurus)
- Dinosaur Train Submarine: Shoshana Shonisaurus / All Kinds of Families (lessons taught: Shonisaurus)
- Dinos A to Z, Part 1, The Big Idea / Dinos A to Z, Part 2, Spread The Word (lessons taught: Diversity and Gallimimus / Nodosaurus)
- Dinos A to Z, Part 3, Classification / Dinos A to Z, Part 4, A To Z Picnic (lessons taught: Classification / Yangchuanosaurus and Zigongosaurus)
- Remember The Alamosaurus / Sunrise, Sunset (lessons taught: Alamosaurus / Nocturnal and Diurnal)
- A Heck of a Neck / Gilbert Visits The Nest (lessons taught: Diplodocus / Collections)
- An Apatosaurus Adventure / Nature Art (lessons taught: Apatosaurus / Environmental art)
- Arnie Rides The Flatcar / Old Reliable (lessons taught: Argentinosaurus / Geysers)
- Tiny and the Crocodile / Meet The Grandparents (Deinosuchus / Migration)
- The Egg Stealer? / To The Grandparents' Nest We Go! (Oviraptor)
- Double-Crested Trouble / Erma and the Conductor (lesson taught: Dilophosaurus)
- Dome-Headed Dinosaur / Treasure Hunt (lesson taught: Pachycephalosaurus)
- Dinosaur Train Submarine: Maisie Mosasaurus / Date Night (lessons taught: Mosasaurus)
- Dinosaur Train Submarine: A Sea Turtle Tale / Rocket Train (Archelon)
Specials and TV films
- Pteranodon Family World Tour Adventure  - This special includes the season 1 episodes Pteranodon Family World Tour, Gilbert The Junior Conductor, Confuciusornis Says, Tiny's Tiny Doll, Iggy Iguanodon, Shiny Can't Sleep, Kenny Kentrosarus, and Don And The Troodons.
- Dinosaur Train Under The Sea  - A one hour special including four season 1 episodes: Elmer Elasmosaurus, Carla Cretoxyrhina, Paulie Pliosaurus and The Amazing Michelinoceras Brothers (only leaving out the other halves of those particular episodes; Dinosaur Block Party, Train Trouble, Elmer Visits the Desert and Dad's Day Out).
- Dinosaur Big City  - A musical television film version of the four part season 2 opening episode, Dinosaur Big City. This film marked many changes to the show, including a new Time Tunnel, a new version of Dr. Scott's "Dinosaur Discoveries" segment, new songs, and slightly different animation.
- Dinosaurs A-Z  - Based on the song, Dinosaurs A-Z from "One Smart Dinosaur". Tiny has an enormous idea to gather all the dinosaurs in the song from Apatosaurus to Zigongosaurus and have them sing the song altogether. It includes 4 episodes and gather all dinosaurs, including old friends, Jack (Einiosaurus), Ned (Brachiosaurus), Mr. Corythosaurus, Derek (Deinonychus), Iggy (Iguanodon), Kenny (Kentrosaurus), Larry (Lambeosaurus), Ornen & Ollie (Ornithomimus), Morris (Stegosaurus), Velma (Velociraptor), Perry (parasaurolophus) and a whole lot of new dinosaurs.