Dinosaurs Unearthed Roars to Life

By Carolyn Belardo

Dinosaurs thunder to life in an immersive exhibit at Philadelphia’s dinosaur museum starting Saturday, June 25, ushering in a Dino-mite Summer of free tours, fossil preparation mini-classes, and building Jurassic creatures out of LEGO bricks.

Dinosaurs Unearthed at the Academy features lifelike roaring, moving dinosaurs in naturalistic settings that take visitors on an unforgettable journey to when the mysterious giants ruled the earth.

State-of-the-art and scientifically accurate—down to the feathers on T. rex—this engaging exhibit features a fascinating range of realistic, full-bodied animatronic dinosaurs and their incredible stories.

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In addition to the animatronic dinosaurs, visitors can view real dinosaur fossils. Photo by Dinosaurs Unearthed.

Towering skeletons, amazing skulls, claws and horns, real mosasaur and Spinosaurus teeth, a real Oviraptor egg, and the ever-popular coprolite—dinosaur poop—make for an unforgettable experience for all ages.

Visitor participation is encouraged through enthralling touch stations that feature dinosaur sounds, digestion, anatomy, skin and bones, and predator-prey relationships.

Visitors will be able to control the movements of Yangchuanosaurus (YANG-shoe-AHN-oh-SORE-us) and Protoceratops—making them roar and thrash on command, swing their powerful tails, turn their bulging necks, strike with their forearms, and even blink their menacing eyes. A weight scale lets visitors measure their weight in relation to the incredibly large dinosaurs they see around them.

“This incredible exhibit creates the atmosphere that makes you feel like you’ve boarded a time machine and travelled 67 million years back in time,” said Academy President and CEO George W. Gephart, Jr. “Dinosaurs are larger than life, and, let me tell you, they’re not just for kids.”

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Predator Trap: A juvenile Stegosaurus and a juvenile Allosaurus try to run away but are stuck in mud! Photo by Dinosaurs Unearthed.

Custom-designed and handcrafted by paleo-artists, each of the animatronic dinosaurs and fossil replicas present a stunning representation of the best available knowledge.

A team of science and design experts has ensured that the exhibit is both visually impressive and interactive.

Dinosaurs Unearthed opens Saturday, June 25, and runs through Jan. 17, 2017. Discount tickets can be purchased online at ansp.org.

The exhibit kicks off Dino-mite Summer, a series of special programming from July 5 through Sept, 2, featuring some of the Academy’s most popular features.

Tours of Dinosaur Hall will be given every Friday at 2 p.m. and every Saturday at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Visitors can meet a live dinosaur relative up close every Monday at 2:30 p.m. and a wide variety of reptiles all day every Tuesday and Sunday. LEGO lovers unite to build dino-inspired creations every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Scientists say T. rex had feathers as a youngster. Who knew?! Photo by Dinosaurs Unearthed.
Scientists say T. rex had feathers as a youngster. Who knew?! Photo by Dinosaurs Unearthed.

In addition, for the opening weekend only, the Academy will display a huge hand claw, lower jaw and teeth of Dryptosaurus, a local dinosaur closely related to and alive at the same time as Tyrannosaurus rex, about 67 million years ago.

The carnivore was discovered in 1866 in Gloucester County, N.J., and described for science by Edward Drinker Cope. It was later renamed by Othniel Marsh during the “Bone Wars.” The Dryptosaurus fossils are part of the Academy’s research collection and are rarely put on display for preservation reasons.

In 2013 Dinosaurs Unearthed made its East Coast debut at the Academy. It was so popular that organizers decided to bring it back, this time with even more interactive components to engage visitors.

Dinosaurs Unearthed is presented by Abington Friends School and supported by the Beachell Family, Buckley & Company, the Delany Family, The PFM Group, Santander Bank, and Veritable, LP. Dinosaurs Unearthed was created by Dinosaurs Unearthed of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.

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