Since 1990, the
Less than two miles away, at
For dino lovers, it's double your pleasure.
Except, oops, the Mariners' is not showing dinosaurs. Prehistoric maritime creatures are not called dinosaurs, but they can be just as big and scary and fascinating.
If that's not enough, in nearby
It's the Mariners' first time for a show like this. "Our new initiative is to have more kid-friendly and family-friendly shows," said
The exhibit was created by Triebold Paleontology, a
It would be foolhardy to dangle a massive Tylosaurus proriger -- picture a 40-foot-long eel with an alligator head -- from the gallery's high ceilings, the show's audience-friendly text tells us. The skull would be heavier than the cast material, which is liquid plastic resin, used to reproduce it.
The show features about two dozen full skeletons plus several "life restorations" of creatures cast from fossil parts, and more.
On view are several collections of real bones set in plaster, showing how the paleontologist found them at a dig. An example is a Pteranodon, a huge flying lizard that is theorized to have hunted fish from the prehistoric waters covering the central
Those disconnected bones were used to make the Pteranodon cast-skeletons on view.
Many of the skeletons float overhead and create the sensation that you're walking into deep ocean and on a collision course with some fierce-looking whatsits.
A Pteranodon is the first thing you encounter. From there, you can see the ferocious Tylosaurus, its massive jaws open and its body wriggling to move quickly through the water toward its prey, the surely alarmed Elasmosaurus platyurus. You can remember that reptile's name if you think of its giraffe-like neck as elastic.
Finally, he dashed to the dig box, filled with a dirtlike material that doesn't get you dirty. It also contained brushes, so visitors can clear debris from cast fossils found just beneath the surface. Colin jumped in and got brushing.
"This isn't one you pick up," the grandmother cautioned Colin about the bones. "This is one you uncover and discover."
The museum's new 3-D movie theater is featuring the 40-minute "Sea Rex 3D" through the run of the show. The film puts skin on these creatures and brings them back to life -- better than
There's the duck-billed Edmontosaurus with its newly hatched offspring. The armored-looking Euplocephalus with a clublike tail. The corporate-sounding Citipati. They make grumbling, snorting and, yes, roaring sounds when they open their mouths.
And they move. Tails go up and down. Forelegs gesture. Heads twist and turn.
That's scary enough, but it's the realistic-looking and -moving eyeballs that get you.
You know how people and animals sometimes look in one direction before they turn their heads that way? These dinos do that. And it's unnerving.
The "skin" looks fairly convincing, too, even from just a few feet away. It stretches much like real skin does as the dinos gently gyrate.
This show has a small dig pit in the galleries, but there's a much larger one outside. Visitors there can dig up real regional fossils, identify them and take them home.
The dino shows change each time the
The recent finding highlighted here is feathered dinosaurs, represented by the ostrich-resembling Citipati, which grew to 9 feet in length. Its face looks designed by Picasso; the nostrils are higher than its saucer eyes, which are on the sides of its head.
Throughout the show, some youngsters might burst into tears or spiral into mild terror. In that case, volunteers near the entrance have a ready salve that seems to work.
While kids might be hesitant at first,
Dinos night hours
More info 595-1900, thevlm.org
-"Dinosaur Prophecy" planetarium show
-Dinosaur puppet show
-A real dig Help excavate a prehistoric whale fossil,
"Savage Ancient Seas: Dinosaurs of the Deep"
More info 596-2222, www.marinersmuseum.org
-"Sea Rex 3D" The Mariners' just opened its new 3-
-Savage Saturdays Search for prehistoric fossils dug up in
-Dozin' with the Dinos
The touring show "Dinosaurs Come Alive!" will be at
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