Pre­his­toric sleep­over at the mu­seum

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - NI­CHOLAS MCBRIDE

Chil­dren spent a pre­his­toric night at the mu­seum with a di­nosaur sleep­over in Palmer­ston North.

The city’s Te Manawa mu­seum hosted an event called Py­ja­masaurus this month, where chil­dren slept along­side the pop­u­lar Di­nosaur En­counter ex­hibit.

Chil­dren also en­joyed ac­tiv­i­ties and a show­ing of clas­sic movie Juras­sic Park.

The di­nosaur ex­hi­bi­tion has ex­pe­ri­enced un­prece­dented lev­els of pop­u­lar­ity since it opened in Septem­ber, with more than 27,000 peo­ple fil­ing through.

Te Manawa spokesman Graeme Beal said they had never had such a pop­u­lar ex­hibit.

‘‘We cer­tainly hoped we would see numbers like this.

‘‘I don’t think we ex­pected so many so quickly, par­tic­u­larly in the Septem­ber school hol­i­days. It was re­ally over­whelm­ing. We ap­pre­ci­ate how pa­tient peo­ple were.’’

The ex­hibit was ap­proach­ing its half­way point and he hoped they could dou­ble the numbers be­fore it wraps up in late Fe­bru­ary. So far about 10,000 peo­ple have come through its doors.

‘‘I think for now the most im­por­tant thing is that as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble get to see it.

‘‘It has been a bril­liant sur­prise and kept us on our toes.’’

It was the first time the ex­hibit had been held in the South­ern Hemi­sphere and Beal said the am­bi­tious ef­fort had paid off.

‘‘It was a big un­der­tak­ing for a re­gional mu­seum. We are re­ally grate­ful we had so much sup­port from the busi­ness com­mu­nity.

‘‘It helped put the city on the map.’’

The cost of freight­ing the ex­hibit was about $200,000, which had al­ready been cov­ered.

Beal said they had re­ceived good feed­back so far.

‘‘Peo­ple re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated that it came all the way from Lon­don. They felt re­ally priv­iledged.’’

Beal said the re­sponse to Py­ja­masaurus had been in­cred­i­ble.

‘‘Due to the level of in­ter­est al­ready, we will also run an­other one on Jan­uary 14,’’ he said.

Chil­dren and their care­givers also got to en­joy din­ner, sup­per and break­fast at the mu­seum.

Beal said the mu­seum had brought a lot of peo­ple through the doors this year with a se­ries of good ex­hibits.

The Frida Kahlo ex­hibit had brought in more than 10,000 peo­ple, he said.

WAR­WICK SMITH

Tahu Lowe, 7, left, and his brother Niwa Lowe, 9, try to sleep at Te Manawa ahead of the di­nosaur sleep­over.

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