Dig dinosaurs?

Exploration Place is the place this summer!


You'll feel like an extra on the set of Jurassic Park when you visit Exploration Place this summer.

An exhibit called "Dinosaurs Unearthed" opens May 24 and runs through Labor Day. It's included in the general museum admission fee and is free for members.

At the centerpiece: 14 animatronic dinosaurs that move and make noise, ranging in size from a 23 foot tall Tyrannosaurus Rex down to a "microraptor" feathered ancestor of the bird.

Throw in dinosaur themed summer camps, science shows and other events and you see why Christini Bluml, Spokesperson for the children's museum, says, "Basically we're just being taken over by dinosaurs this summer"

The main exhibit also contains two life skeleton casts of the Gasosaurus and the Huayangosaurus along with 22 fossils of dinosaur claws, skulls, footprints and more. There will be a dinosaur standing guard outside the museum to help set the stage and a "fossil dig area" inside where kids can play. Among demonstrations held throughout the exhibit area will be one called "Can you outrun a T Rex?"

"It's very immersive," Bluml said.

Museum officials are expecting a big turnout based on what happened during its last dinosaur exhibit, in 2006.

"When we had 'A Tex Named Sue,' they absolutely loved it," Bluml said. "This was just one dinosaur and some fossils. This is so much more detailed."

Indeed, the exhibit is just the starting point. Other events include:

Summer camps for kids June 3-7. For children entering grades 1-8 there is "Dinos!," while kids entering grades 1-12 can participate in "Paleontology: Can You Dig It?"

Dynamite Dino Day, Saturday, July 6. EP partners with the Museum of World Treasures in Old Town to present special activities outdoors and indoors at both locations. The museum is opening a new exhibit of its own focused on what happened after the dinosaurs rule ended. Admission is reduced by $2 at both museums that day.

Kansas Paleontologist Mike Everhart will be at EP throughout the summer on Fridays and Saturdays to share his knowledge. For more about Everhart, see www.oceansofkansas.com

Live science shows in the Kemper Creative Learning Studio. These interactive shows with visitors, that the EP staff leads, are not yet scheduled.

A film in the EP Dome Theatre called "Dinosaurs at Dusk," in which a man and daughter go back in time to experience the last days of dinosaurs.

Bluml said the museum will also be in high demand for birthday parties and other private events this summer thanks to the prehistoric visitors.

"Everybody loves dinosaurs. My kid wants to have a dinosaur birthday party and he's three. It's going to be a great family-oriented exhibit."

Interestingly, Bluml notes, dinosaurs never roamed Kansas during their era. The region was covered by an ancient sea. But this summer, she added, "It's going to be all dinosaurs all the time."

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