The new T. rex: The Ultimate Predator exhibit is simply dino-mite, ushering in a year of special events to celebrate the 150th anniversary celebration at the American Museum of Natural History.
The exhibit opens this weekend, and NYCOTC Editor Evelyn Kanter got a preview that included the chance to assemble a dinosaur skeleton via VR.
I’ll admit I screamed and jumped back when my just-assembled virtual T. rex appeared to attack me. But it only want to be petted, virtually, of course.
The VR station is just one part of this exhibit that lets you get up close and personal with the most fearsome creature that ever lived, the absolute top of the Jurassic food chain.
There also are lots of interactive touch screens, video projections and more – and more than enough to educate and entertain kids and the grown-ups who accompany them.
One of its paleontoligists, Barnum Brown, discovered the T. rex, in Montana, some 100 years ago, setting off a worldwide love affair with the prehistoric beasts.
Although there are hundreds of dinosaurs, T. rex is the most popular, for its fearsome size and power.
But T. rex isn’t born that way.
The exhibit follows its growth from a hatchling poking its head out of an egg, to a cute and cuddly toddler the size of a turkey, to a teenager slightly larger than a large dog, to the fully-formed monster whose jaws could crush the family SUV.
There’s lots to learn in this exhibit, which explores everything about our favorite dinosaur, from its social life to what it like to eat.
Trust me, it’s nothing like the movie Jurassic Park, which helped fuel our interest in prehistoric animals.
Unlike the AMNH exhibits of prehistoric skeletons, including that of Titanosaur, the world’s largest dinosaur, this T. rex: The Ultimate Predator features what is described as “fully formed” dinos, with mottled skin, hair and toenails.
The exhibit includes a life-size model of Tyrannosaurus rex, which we all call T. rex, with skin and hair, and all its fearsome teeth.
Here’s some of what I learned about T. rex: The Ultimate Predator:
- T. rex has serrated teeth, much like a saw, to attack its enemies and eat its prey
- Despite its size and power, T. rex dinosaurs mostly lived to just 30 years old, in part because they were so “beat up”, as one AMNH expert said, from fights for turf and fights for food.
- Their jaws are related to those of crocodiles.
- They were able to pulverize and digest bones
- T. rex wasn’t the largest dinosaur, but it was the fiercest, which helped it to survive
- It was part of a large family of tyrannosaurs, which are also displayed, so you can compare their similarities and differences, and try to pronounce their names. Proceratosaurus bradleyi and Dilong paadoxus were kidding cousins.
Visiting T. rex: The Ultimate Predator
Be sure to pick up the special visitor’s guide to the exhibit. There’s also a special Educator’s Guide for teachers bringing school groups here.
The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is open daily, 10am to 5:45pm.
Get a General Admission Plus One ticket, which includes admission to this special exhibit. Pricing is $28 adults, $27 students and seniors, and $16.50 for children ages 2-12.
Admission to the T. rex special exhibit is via timed entry, but you can stay as long as you like.
The exhibit opens to the general public on Monday, March 11th
All photos courtesy AMNH