PAST: Dinosaurs & Paleontology
The Gallery of Dinosaurs and Paleontology combines a fascinating fossil collection with opportunities for active exploration. Find out how fossils are formed and what makes dinosaurs different from other prehistoric creatures. Then try your hand at excavating in the Dinosaur Dig.
A display of fossils, both well-known and obscure, includes trilobites, brachiopods, corals, amber, and a very large shark’s tooth. Some are protected under glass, while others are available for hands-on learning. Fossils are the remains of plants or animals, in which the organic matter is replaced by inorganic matter (minerals). Investigate this exhibit to find out how different kinds of fossils are formed.
A replica of a stegosaurus plate allows visitors to feel all of the bumps and grooves on a Stegosaurus’ plate. The plate belonged to a 30-foot, 2-ton animal that lived about 150 million years ago. There is some debate about the primary function of Stegosaurus’ plates, but they were most likely an early form of climate control, allowing the large plant eater to regulate temperature. Undoubtedly they also provided some defense and may have attracted potential mates.
In the Dino Dig, with goggles in place and brush in hand, children are transformed into junior paleontologists, as they excavate replicas of dinosaur skeletons at this simulated excavation site. Nearby signs help visitors identify the bones they uncover.