As Alan Grant left the Main Visitor center, he mused on what it was about Dinosaurs that appealed to kids. He decided that dinosaurs represented a sort of symbolic authority to kids, a sort of surrogate parent. Just like a parent, they were simultaneously frightening yet accessible, and they presented an authority figure they could love. He also thought that children found satisfaction in saying the names of the animals, as that represented a sort of power of the vanished giants, showing a form of control.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton page (First Edition, Thirty Fourth printing)