Review: Tiny Titans Exhibit

Dino Babies Take the Spotlight at ‘Tiny Titans’ Exhibit

Bone up on your baby dinosaur facts at the Academy of Natural Sciences’ latest exhibit.

A review by Gwyneth K. Shaw, Editor-in-Chief, Philadelphia Family and Main Line Parent

Your kids probably know a lot about dinosaurs: what they ate, how they lived, and how they evolved into some of the creatures we know today. But what do they know about how dinosaurs were born, and grew?

“Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies,” the newest exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, wants to help us all understand more about embryonic and juvenile dinosaurs. It opens September 30, 2017, and will run until January 15, 2018.

As scientists discover more every day about dinosaurs, some of what they’re finding out about babies is surprising. It’s not always true that young dinosaurs were exactly like their full-grown counterparts.

“‘Tiny Titans’ gives us a rare look into the lives of dinosaurs, their eggs, and embryos,” said Jennifer Sontchi, the museum’s senior director of exhibits and public spaces.

These fossils, she said, give paleontologists clues about whether dinosaurs watched over their eggs, and even whether they returned to nesting grounds.

The exhibit blends real and recreated fossils, offering kids the chance to touch and feel what these eggs, nests, and bones are like. The signs — in English and Spanish — are packed with information about what scientists know about different types of dinosaurs and their early life cycle.

Photograph by Gwyneth K. Shaw

A special “petting zoo” area features touchable juvenile dinosaurs, including Ozzy the T-rex, Chucky the triceratops, and Othello the apatosaurus. There’s also a whole costume area, with knobby-backed tails and feathered wings, so kids can try their hands at being dinosaur parents and protecting a nest.

More hands-on elements include excavation pits and a reading nook for some educational relaxation.

The exhibit’s creation was a family affair: fossil collector Charlie Magovern uncovered the infant skeleton now known as “Baby Louie” (and on display in the exhibit). He wanted to bring the eggs to wider audience, so he and his wife, Florence, began working on an exhibit with help from the Yale Peabody Museum, the University of Tennessee, and the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Their daughter, Alanna, and son-in law, Nicholas Regester, worked on the exhibit as well. She’s a trained artist who made many of the simulated fossils, and he’s the production manager and also worked with Florence Magovern on designing the costumes.

“It is an authentic representation,” Alanna Regster said.

To celebrate the opening weekend of the exhibit, the museum will host special activities on September 30 and October 1, including visits from living descendants of the dinosaurs: some of the birds in the academy’s collection. Visit the museum’s website for full details.

“Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies” is at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, at 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. The exhibit is open from 10 am – 4:30 pm during the week and 10 am – 5 pm on the weekends. Admission starts at $13.95, and it’s a $3 fee for museum members; click here to buy tickets.


This review originally was published by Philadelphia Family and Main Line Parent.

Lead photograph by Luis V. Rey, courtesy of the Academy of Natural Sciences

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