If you’re looking for the perfect spot to take your next selfie, head over to Logan Circle — there’s a 40-foot-long T. Rex outside the Academy of Natural Sciences just made to order. It’s one of 13 full-sized animatronic dinosaurs that will be swinging their tails and showing their teeth at the museum from Saturday through March 30.
“Dinosaurs Unearthed is a multisensory, dynamic, interactive exhibit,” says the museum’s exhibits director, Jennifer Sontchi. “The dinosaurs aren’t just shown in isolation — each is shown in its habitat” so visitors can learn about how they lived and what they ate. “They aren’t just mythical creatures,” she emphasizes. “They were living, breathing animals.”
Exhibits include a velociraptor about to battle a proceratops, and a stegosaurus and some young allosauruses stuck in a mud pit, doomed to become fossils. Most of the creatures have their movements pre-programmed, but visitors to the Make Me Move gallery will be able to control one of the dinosaurs' roars, thrashes and chomps.
In addition to the animatronic dinos, the exhibit — which costs an additional $5 surcharge beyond the cost of museum admission — features real fossils, including bones, teeth and coprolite (fossilized dino poop). Activities, including a dig site, will let young paleontologists enjoy some hands-on action.
“Everyone who comes to this exhibit will remember it for the rest of their lives,” Sontchi promises. “There is nothing like being face-to-face with a dinosaur.”
For the kids
The Academy of Natural Sciences is offering Dino Passes that get little ones into the special exhibit without paying the ticket surcharge each time. “The exhibit isn’t too intimidating — but small children, especially, may feel overwhelmed,” Sontchi says, so you might want to bring the kids back a few times, rather than go through the whole exhibit at once.
For the grownups
Don’t have a kid handy to provide an excuse to visit? “We’re also going to be offering evening events, including lectures, geared toward adults,” Sontchi says. Many of these will take place during Ferocious February, when the museum’s popular Megabad Movie Night will feature a dino-themed flick.