Standing on the front lawn of the Witte Museum and staring down Broadway is Patty, the 60-foot Apatosaurus who welcomes visitors to the museum and its newest attraction. Other dinosaurs scattered around the museum’s grounds signify the return of one of the biggest exhibits at the Witte Museum.
Now until Sep. 2 in the Kathleen and Curtis Gunn Gallery, the Witte will be exhibiting “Dinosaurs Unearthed.” The installation features the world’s most advanced life-size animatronic dinosaurs, complete skeletons, newly discovered fossils, new hands-on interactive features suitable for all ages and the latest paleontological discovery: the feathered dinosaur.
Created with electronics instead of hydraulics, the life-size animatronic dinosaurs allow the audience to experience the likeness of the beasts with realistic motions. Giants, like the Tyrannosaurus Rex, can lift their head; preparing for an attack. Later discoveries like Confuciusornis and Sinosauropteryx are in what could possibly have been their natural habitat.
The exhibit also includes nine augmented reality stations where visitors can see a particular dinosaur come to life in 3-D right before their eyes.
Each station features something different. At one station, a skeletal view of the Microraptor can be seen as well as the dinosaurs’ flight behavior. At another, a young Tyrannosaurus Rex can be fed until the dinosaur is fully-grown.
Each station is equipped with two iPads for visitors to use, but visitors are encouraged to bring their own iPad, iPhone or Android devices to download the free app and experience the environment of the dinosaurs. “Everyone is familiar with iPads,” says Lauren Dollard, a visitor’s associate at the Witte. “The new AR stations make the experience that much more immersible.”
The exhibit includes interactive podiums, touch kiosks, push button video displays, computer stations and consoles to control and explore dinosaur movements. A dig site allows guests to make their own fossil discoveries and learn how paleontologists carefully unearth dinosaur bones.
“The exhibit is just so family friendly,” says Ian Galloway, 29, as he watches his son, Kingsley, dig through the paleontological site.
“Every year it gets better. There’s more for Kingsley to do, and I’m never bored when I bring him. I wouldn’t be surprised if I enjoyed it more than him!”
“Dinosaurs Unearthed” focuses on the newest discoveries in the realm of dinosaurs, including evidence that suggests that the vast majority of dinosaurs were covered in feathers rather than the scaly, reptilian skin as previously believed. This suggests that dinosaurs might actually be the ancestors of modern birds as opposed to reptiles.
The exhibit features a Velociraptor blanketed in feathers and also suggests that the Velociraptor or its ancestors may have been capable of flight, a completely different take on the well-known scavenger species.
The exhibit explores new evidence that suggests one of the dinosaur kingdom’s greatest predators, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, was a feathered dinosaur at one time.There is a $5 surcharge to view the exhibit in addition to the general admission fee.
For more information on “Dinosaurs Unearthed,” please visit www.WitteMuseum.org or call (210) 357-1900.