Step Back into Dinosaur Time

By Carolyn Belardo

Stegosaurus nibbles on an evergreen tree over your shoulder. A menacing Quetzalcoatlus circles overhead, eyeing your bald spot.

Are they a couple of Deinonychus tearing into that poor young Astrodon directly behind you?

Eddie, the mascot, and Academy President George Gephart join summer camp kids who traveled back in time— and lived to tell about it.

Yo, this is not a bad dream! It’s an exciting new Time Machine experience in the Academy’s iconic Dinosaur Hall where visitors travel back in time with Academy paleontologists and see what life was like when dinosaurs ruled.

The drama unfolds around you when you step through the time gate into a variety of scenes of charging, eating, attacking, and lumbering dinosaurs, depending on how many millions of years you leap back.

There you are in high definition standing (cowering? laughing?) amidst the Jurassic and Cretaceous landscapes of Colorado, Texas, Montana, Maryland, Oklahoma, Wyoming. And Inner Mongolia, too.

“Imagine that Academy scientists have found a way to take you into the past to their field research sites for brief periods of time,” said Academy Exhibits Director Jennifer Sontchi. “There you can observe the animals, track your location on the map, study our paleontologists’ field notes, and see yourself right there amidst the ruckus of the jungle or desert action.”

What’s going on? We’ve taken the beloved classic Time Machine in the popular dinosaur exhibit and given it new life with state-of-the-art technology. Today was the “ribbon-biting” (see video) ceremony.

Sontchi can vouch for the fun experience of the new machine, but hedges when it comes to the dinosaur roars and snuffles that pepper the soundtrack, and that have confounded paleontologists who can only guess what the creatures sounded like.

“I make no claims to their accuracy!” Sontchi said. “Come see it for yourself and let us know what you think.”

On your next visit to the Academy, don’t miss the Time Machine and the other improvements you see in these images here.

A new quiet nook where you can rest and contemplate your fate had you lived at the time of these formidable predators.

The swanky new entryway to Dinosaur Hall, not to be outdone by the Ultrasauros leg.

Video by Mike Servedio/ANS. Photos by Carolyn Belardo/ANS