Watch out! Dinosaurs are trending.
On the heels of the release of blockbuster-hopeful “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” comes “Ultimate Dinosaurs,” a new summer-long-plus exhibition at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
At a preview this week, I could barely look when my 8-year-old daughter and I ascended the “T. rexcalator”—the two-story escalator that has been renamed in honor of a new, life-sized cast that looms above it. The skeleton, nicknamed “Stan,” is the second-most-complete (and first-most fierce) T. rex ever found.
Stan takes up prime real estate, presiding over the grand escalator that also features terrific views of downtown Dallas.
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And remnants of other terrifying “new-to-us” dinosaurs can also be found on the lower level, where some 20 exotic breeds are on view from through January 6, 2019.
The exhibition focuses on “really rare species of dinosaurs,” said Dr. Linda Silver, the museum’s Eugene McDermott CEO.
“All of them come from the Southern Hemisphere,” she said during brief remarks at the preview, where Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings officially declared via prerecorded remarks that it is the “summer of the dinosaur.”
With unusual-sounding names, some of which sound as if they were coined by kids, (Gigantosaurus, anyone?), there are raptors in abundance, as well as skeletons that might be somewhat familiar — that is, if you’re a paleontologist.
The Repetosaurus, Perot paleontologists recently have discovered, is closely related to the Alamosaurus. With the latter’s skeleton one of the most beloved in the museum’s permanent collection, scientists were able to determine they were “very close cousins,” said Dr. Tony Fiorillo, chief curator and vice president of research and collections at the museum, due to similarities in each one’s skull.
Making dino discoveries is a new focus for the museum. In fact, later this summer, the Perot will unveil its Paleo Lab, where visitors can watch scientists at work.
“We are very excited that the Perot Museum is putting dinosaurs on the paleontological map,” Silver said. “[Dinosaurs] are a natural gateway into science.”
The exhibition, spread over two large rooms, features impressive skeletons, as well as life-sized video projections of the animals, interactive games and “augmented-reality viewers.” Upstairs in the T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall on Level 4, a “Dancing Dinos” experience offers patrons the chance to dance along with a raptor avatar.
Other dino-related events are slated for later this summer, and they’re certain to be otherworldly. Plans include a Nanuqsuaurs to be erected on top of the Paleo Lab, according to Dr. Ron Tykoski, director of the museum’s new paleontology lab.
A two-day dinosaur festival, to take place over Labor Day weekend, will feature an array of family-friendly events. Silver said she hopes to make it an annual occurrence.
All of which means the Perot’s “summer of the dinosaur” may just extend to all year long.
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
2201 N. Field St., Dallas 75201
Open daily from 10am–6pm