Think you know a lot about dinosaurs? Think again. Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries, the current exhibit at Museum at Prairiefire, Overland Park, KS (organized by the American Museum of Natural History), may dramatically change your perception of these astounding prehistoric creatures. This groundbreaking exhibition, which presents many discoveries that contradict earlier notions scientists had about dinosaurs, opened March 21, 2015. It highlights ongoing, cutting-edge research by American Museum of Natural History scientists and other leading paleontologists around the world.
Using recent major fossil finds, captivating computer simulations and provocative life-size models (including a stunning 60-foot long model of an Apatosaurus skeleton), Dinosaurs breaks through preconceived concepts to introduce a dynamic new vision of the Dinosaur Age.
A focal point of the exhibition is the Liaoning Forest, a 700-square-foot walk-through diorama depicting the rich diversity of animals living 130 million years ago in a Chinese forest–the most detailed recreation of a prehistoric environment ever constructed. When you tour the exhibit, you will stroll back in time and come face to face with many of the amazing creatures that lived there, including the largest Mesozoic mammal yet uncovered, the badger-sized Repenomamus giganticus. This diorama is appealing to even young children, who enjoy finding the various creatures and all the other cool stuff depicted on the mural above the exhibit.
Other exhibition highlights include a six-foot-long mechanical T. rex skeleton that walks in place; a small birdlike dinosaur depicted in a sleeping position with its head tucked between its forearm and trunk, and its tail encircling its body; and a model of a Microraptor gliding between trees looking like a feathered biplane with wings on both its arms and its legs.
There’s also a large “trophy wall” of mounted dinosaur skulls, ranging from the three-horned Triceratops to the dome-headed Pachycephalosaurus, that illustrates the latest theories on the purposes of the unusual horns, frills, crests, and domes found on many dinosaur skulls. What’s really interesting is that the horns on some of the dinosaurs may have actually not been used for fighting (as originally theorized), but for flirting (in order to catch the eye of a mate).
The weekend of June 6-7 is Educator Appreciation Weekend at the Museum at Prairiefire. During this first weekend in June, the MAP is offering free or discounted admission to teachers. If you’re an educator, show your teacher ID (or a photo of your ID) at the ticket desk, and receive free admission for yourself and up to three guests to the Dinosaurs exhibition. You can also purchase tickets at 20% off to the hands-on, interactive Discovery Room, which contains a plethora of interactive, hands-on science materials (from the fields of anthropology to zoology) for kids to explore.
Check out http://museumatpf.org/ for more details about the Discovery Room and also about the fascinating current exhibit. And don’t miss your chance to see Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries. The exhibit will be on display through August 30, 2015.