Friday, April 25, 2014

Totally Texas -- The really, really big bones

Sure the Perot Museum of Nature and Science’s Alamosaurus skeleton is big.  The three-story tall dinosaur was a long, tall Texan from before there even was a Texas. But now he’s got company, really, really big company, in The World’s Largest Dinosaurs, on exhibit at the museum through September 1, 2014.

The exhibit includes a life-size model of South American Mamenchisaurus, a 60-foot long female sauropod whose lithe neck accounted for half of her body size. One side of Mamenchisaurus shows her simulated skin, the other a virtual dissection of the organs that made up this plant-eating giant. The exhibit also includes specimens of sauropod bones, skin impressions and other fossils, and a simulated fossil dig.

To see Mamenchisaurus and her accompaniments, you’ll need to buy a general admission ticket ($15 for adults aged 16-64) along with a timed admission to the special exhibit ($6). Want to make a big deal bigger? See the giant-screen movie, Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia 3-D, ($5). Or bundle a movie and exhibits for $25. Children’s prices are $10 for general admission, $5 for the special exhibit, and $5 for the movie, or $19 for the bundle. From experience, I strongly recommend buying advance tickets online.

The big sauropods probably spent most of their waking hours consuming enough plants to fuel their bodies. Which makes me wonder whether a little boy or girl sauropod loved to run as much as my daughter’s boys do. Every visit, we budget time to let the kids try their speed against simulations of cheetahs, human athletes, or scary extinct critters in the Family Sports Hall.

Warning--the stride of a T. rex was just a smidge longer than the average human’s. The boys haven’t been able to beat him on the track. Yet.

Or for the boys to try some of their other favorite activities--jumping like crazy in front of the motion-capture wall in the Being Human Hall. Or designing their own imaginary creatures on the interactive computers in the Life Then and Now Hall. (Or find your own favorites in the museum’s eleven permanent exhibit halls.)

And entering or leaving, it’s hard to make the boys stop playing on the big green leapfrogs, or in the wading stream, or at the musical forest. Entry to the museum’s outside activities and first floor, including café and gift shop, is free.

The Perot Museum is located at 2201 N. Field St., in Victory Park. Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m, Sunday noon - 5 p.m. Sunday.  See for online tickets and directions.

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