*boom* A cup full of water jumps a little.
*Boom* The water ripples significantly.
*BOOM* Water almost jumps out of the cup.
*RRAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHH* As the T-Rex appears the children in the jeep make wide eyes and others try to not to attract any attention with their movements. We are all familiar with this iconic moment from Jurassic Park introducing one of mother nature’s most feared predators: Tyrannosaurus rex.
Standing tall at almost twelve feet, the Tyrannosaurus rex greets visitors to The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University’s Dinosaur Hall. While perhaps not as scary as we all remember the T. rex scene in Jurassic Park being as children, walking towards this beast is still intimidating. The four-foot jaw and six-inch teeth are just a bonus to the sheer height, length, and presence this animal holds in Dinosaur Hall. However, the bones comprising this dinosaur’s skeleton are actually casts of a T. rex skeleton at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History.
Roaming in what is now Canada and northwestern America, the Tyrannosaurus rex was a fierce predator that lived 90 to 66 million years ago in the Mesozoic Era. Its name means “tyrant lizard king” and as one of the largest predators to ever walk the earth, I’d say the king title is rightly earned! These dinosaurs can grow up to forty feet in length so its no wonder their skeletons are popular among museum visitors. A museum in Berlin actually had to limit visitation to their exhibition after displaying Europe’s only T. rex skeleton.
Because we only have the fossil record available to investigate these prehistoric creatures, there are many things about the Tyrannosaurus rex that scientists debate. What did they look like? Were they predators or scavengers? What were those small arms used for anyway? The Smithsonian attempted to answer some of these frequently asked questions with the article “Five Things We Don’t Know About Tyrannosaurus Rex”. Still curious? The American Museum of Natural History both hosts the original skeleton and offers a media-rich feature about the lizard king.
Fortunately for visitors, The Academy of Natural Sciences addresses some of these questions too. Their display panels engage visitors on both sides of the skeleton and pose questions for viewers to consider. “Did T. rex hunt prey, eat already dead and rotting animals (carrion), or both?” asks one panel that goes on to investigate the question. Other labels allow visitors to feel a T. rex tooth and asks them to compare their canines with this predator’s. These labels do an amazing job of helping people relate the object to themselves and think deeper about what they are seeing.
Another panel contains a description side-by-side with braille and an opportunity for visitors with visual difficulties to feel a raised outline of the dinosaur in front of them. This simple extra step makes this exhibit accessible for more visitors and discourages touching of the actual skeleton cast. But just in case there are curious hands, signs warn against touching!
Sometimes called “Philadelphia’s Dino Museum” by Philadelphians and staff alike, The Academy of Natural Sciences interests all Mesozoic fans young and old. This T. rex cast captivates audiences who want to know what it feels like to stand next to the creatures of the past. Due to its massive size, the T. Rex fascinates children who sometimes barely match the height of the display base. A visit to see the dinos wouldn’t be complete without this fan favorite! Because the T. rex is a highly recognized dinosaur it’s perfect for marketing campaigns across the city. Having the chance to look directly into the massive jaws is an experience you’ll never forget!
I hope you’ll consider visiting The Academy of Natural Sciences soon because I found it to be Juras-sick! To help plan your visit and scout some of the creatures you could encounter, check out The Academy’s website.
“Dinosaur Hall.” The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Accessed October 03, 2018. https://ansp.org/exhibits/dinosaur-hall/.
“Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs: Tyrannosaurus rex.” American Museum of Natural History. Accessed October 03, 2018. https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/fossil-halls/hall-of-saurischian-dinosaurs/tyrannosaurus-rex.
“Tyrannosaurus rex.” American Museum of Natural History. Accessed October 03, 2018. https://www.amnh.org/dinosaurs/tyrannosaurus-rex.