Noah Laboy seemed enchanted by the new dinosaur exhibit at the South Florida Museum. But he said it had one serious deficiency.
“I want to feed the dinosaurs, but they won’t let me,” the 5-year-old Bradenton boy complained.
The exhibit, “Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils, New Ideas,” opened Saturday, and it will be on display in the museum’s east gallery through the end of the year.
The exhibit comes from the American Museum of Natural History in New York, in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.
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It focuses on new information and theories about the ancient creatures that scientists have come up with in the 21st century. Recent discoveries suggest, for example, that predatory dinosaurs, even the huge flightless ones, may have had feathers. Researchers have also suggested new possibilities about the way dinosaurs stood and walked. We usually think of them moving with their legs bent, which one display in the exhibit suggests might be unlikely.
I think it’s really nicely done. The emphasis on biomechanics and the sophisticated scientific content is impressive.
Anthropologist Ben Valentine
Ben Valentine of Gainesville was at the exhibit on opening day. He holds a doctorate in anthropology, and he was impressed.
“I think it’s really nicely done,” he said. “The emphasis on biomechanics and the sophisticated scientific content is impressive.”
What makes it even more impressive, he said, is that it’s fun for kids.
“The kids don’t even realize they’re learning,” he said. “I’ve been to a lot of museums, and I’ve seen a lot of bored kids. But look at this, kids are coming back to the same displays over and over.”
Samantha Sprague, the museum’s curator of education, said Saturday’s attendance was noticeably stronger because of the dinosaur exhibit, and she thinks it will continue to draw healthy crowds during its stay in Bradenton.
I gotta say, it’s pretty neat.
9-year-old Julien Woodruff
“I think what you’re going to see is people coming back,” she said. “They’ll want to bring their friends to the museum to show them the dinosaurs.”
Lots of families visited the exhibit on its first day, and the younger kids seemed more interested in some of the interactive electronic displays than the actual dinosaur bones. But they enjoyed the entire experience.
“I gotta say, it’s pretty neat,” said 9-year-old Julien Woodruff. He and his mother, Jeanene Woodruff, are frequent South Florida Museum visitors, but they brought along Julien’s friend Damien Masson, who’s also 9. It was his first time at the museum.
They were surrounded by authentic dinosaur bones, including the imposing and massive skull of a triceratops, but they were most impressed with a metal sculpture of an apatosaurus skeleton. Julien also liked a one display because it looked like a Pokémon.
If you go
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday, through Dec. 31
Where: South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton.
Cost: Adults $19, seniors 65 and older $17, children 4-12, $14; children under age 4 with a paying adult free.