A German friend, visiting a few years ago, asked me if all American apartments had so many... and then he gestured helplessly at the little line of plastic dinosaurs on the windowsill and shrugged.
I had plastic dinosaurs as a child, but I don't think the numbers that I have now, mostly garnered from Archie McPhee represent any nostalgia for my childhood, which was as awful as anyone else's. If anything, I'm subnostalgic for the mindset about science that goes with childhood, that sense that Anything is Possible if There's A Formula Behind It, or if you have a machine with enough knobs and blinking lights attached.
The science that plastic dinosaurs represent to children is the sort of science featured in The Land of the Lost, where you collected amazing facts like trading cards, ready to trump your buddy with the fact that scientists really have no idea what colors dinosaurs were. It's a fantasy science, full of an Indiana Jones type frontier spirit, where the Wayback machine takes you to a primitive world, ripe for exploitation and full of rideable Triceratops, and where the Tyrannosaurus Rex lurks, full of peril and gnashing teeth, but safe as a funhouse ride in the end, because Science will always prevail.