It was seven a.m. on a warm June morning in Somerdale, New Jersey. Three news traffic helicopters hovered over a storage facility, filming the scene below. A giant dinosaur perched regally on a flatbed truck, waiting for its escort through the Garden State and across the Ben Franklin Bridge into Philadelphia. A police escort idled on the other side of the bridge, ready to chaperon the creature through the City of Brotherly Love during rush hour.
The beast was Spinosaurus, destined for the Academy’s Dinosaurs Around the World exhibit, running through January 20, 2020, in the Special Exhibits Gallery. At 45 feet long and nearly 16 feet tall when fully assembled, this juvenile-size animatronic dinosaur would be put in place to roar at passersby outside the museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. But first, she had to commute from Jersey, and she was not exempt from paying her tolls.
As Philadelphia awoke, photographers and reporters positioned themselves throughout the city, awaiting Spinosaurus’ arrival. Trailed by helicopters overhead and flanked by police cars, news crews, and Academy Subarus filled with museum staff, Spiny rolled across the bridge and past City Hall and the Rocky steps, stopping finally at the Academy.
Her 7:30 a.m. drive through the city wasn’t exactly the norm for Center City residents, and she raised some commuters’ tired eyebrows as others took out their phones to document this odd occurrence.
Here are some memories of her epic journey:
The adult Spinosaurus was even bigger than T. rex and Giganotosaurus. It was the largest carnivore to walk the earth! (This one is actually just a baby.)
The Spinosaurus lived in the late Cretaceous in what is now North Africa.
Spiny’s “hump” is actually more like a sail, made of long spines covered with skin. An adult Spinosaurus’ sail was more than five feet tall.
Spinosaurus spent much of its time in rivers, being the only true swimming dinosaur. Like a crocodile, it had a long snout with pressure receptors to seek out prey.
Studies estimate that the adult Spinosaurus was around 49 feet in length and weighed anywhere between 7 to 20 tons.
Dinosaurs Around the World is on display at the Academy of Natural Sciences through January 20, 2020. Learn more and purchase tickets to Dinosaurs Around the World today!