‘Dinosaurs: Fossils Exposed’ new at Discovery Place
Step inside Discovery Place Interactive Museum downtown now and you may imagine the roar of giants as they stomp through the jungle.
With “Dinosaurs: Fossils Exposed,” the bones and fossils of many of the most fascinating dinosaurs are on display from Saturday through Jan. 21, sparking the imagination and educating visitors at the same time in this exhibit created for the Arkansas Discovery Network.
Visitors can both see and touch dinosaur skeletal molds. They include a Velociraptor, Tyrannosaurus rex and triceratops. Kids can step up to one mold and sense the impossible size of these creatures with a sixfoot, one-inch Apatosaurus femur. They can also examine a dig box where paleontology tools help them discover dinosaur bones.
“It’s pretty straightforward,” said Myles Pickett, facilities and exhibits technician at the Little Rockbased Museum of Discovery, about this exhibit. Roughly three years ago they began developing
years ago they began developing it by building storage crates that also act as display stands, and also by buying the fossils from a resin and fiberglass caster.
They aimed for an archaeological, Indiana Jones style to the exhibit, the crates looking like old ones direct from a shipping container. You might imagine they’re from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
“We just have a wide range of different types of dinosaurs,” Pickett said. Most of the exhibit is visual in nature, but some of it’s hands-on, too. Signs each have a blueprint that compares the dinosaurs to the size of people, and they also give a brief description of this particular dinosaur.
“Most of the pieces are skulls. We have a full-sized triceratops, fiberglass resin cast, that is a direct cast of one that’s in the Smithsonian, an actual one,” Pickett said. It’s a massive dinosaur standing right in Discovery Place now, part of an exhibit that’s traveled through Arkansas.
“You just come in and the kids love it. They stare at this stuff for hours,” Pickett said.
A fearsome-looking, full-sized T-Rex skull is part of the exhibit, too. The lower jaw and head fit together to create the entire skull. As a stand-alone piece, it provides the perfect photo opportunity for young dinosaur admirers and their adult counterparts.
“Most of them are skulls just because it makes it really modular,” Pickett said. That way, it can fit inside any space, as needed.
In all, there are about 25 total dinosaurs in the exhibit. The full-size velociraptor doesn’t look quite as big as what “Jurassic Park” fans may have seen on the big screen, he said. Still, it looks plenty powerful and capable of doing damage.
Visually, these dinosaur bones can stir daydreams inside the budding archaeologists among us.
“It’s just so neat, and when you’re a kid and your imagination is flying all over the place, this kind of stuff would really throw you into all different types of directions,” Pickett said.
Tonight, the museum welcomes the exhibit with a DinoSNORE Sleepover for kids and their parents. The night includes stories, games, a presentation about fossil digs and snacks. Dr. Ben Neuman with Texas A&M UniversityTexarkana will talk about dinosaurs.
“He’s going to talk about fossils and evolution. He’s going to give a talk Friday night for the kids who are doing the sleepover, and then Saturday about 9:30 a.m. he’s going to do a little activity and talk on evolution using Brachiopods,” said Velvet Hall Cool, board president for the Texarkana Museums System.
Also, they’ll watch a movie during DinoSNORE and wake up in the morning to eat “scrambled dinosaur eggs and some dinosaur toast,” Cool said. As long as they’re available, tickets can be found at EventBrite.com.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Cool said. Look for more dinosaur-related programming in the upcoming months.
(General admission to the museum: $5 per person, free for members and kids under 3 years old. Discounted group and school tour rates available. Discovery Place Interactive Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. More info: 903-793-4831.)
“Most of the pieces are skulls. We have a full-sized triceratops, fiberglass resin cast, that is a direct cast of one that’s in the Smithsonian, an actual one.” —Myles Pickett
A triceratops is one of the items on display at Discovery Place in downtown Texarkana. The exhibit opens to the public Saturday.
Myles Pickett, facilities and exhibit technician for the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, works on one of the dinosaurs that will be on display at Discovery Place in downtown Texarkana. The exhibit opens to the public on Saturday.