Thursday, February 4, 2016

Dinosaurs at the Museum

The first place my kids always want to go when we visit the museum is the Dinosphere. The big flashy main attraction may be the T-Rex battle between two Tyrannosaurs and a Triceratops, but we have a special connection to Leonardo, the mummified dinosaur. Before ever visiting, he was the first thing we ever learned about what the Museum had to offer.
After reading up on Leonardo, we made our first visit and made a beeline past the giant croc, past the brilliant color changing sky above the battling dinos, past the sensory stations featuring fossils of various specimen and directly to the glass case displaying one of paleontology's greatest discoveries ever. I think my kids heard "mummy" and thought "Egyptian mummy." However, a dinosaur mummy couldn't be wrapped and artificially preserved, so we got to discuss how nature instead did the job of preserving Leonardo's skin, scales, tendons and even stomach contents for scientists to study today. 

After getting a good look behind the glass, we all moved on to the sensory stations to learn more about Leonardo. We found out about his diet, details of where he was found, and more about the process of natural mummification. While the kids were picking up all this information, I had to play the knowledgeable dad role and read the info panels much faster, so I could nod and say "I know, right?" and then provide a little more info when they shared their new wonder with me.

After an all-too-short visit, we headed home, to a waiting science fair project. And what does one do for a science fair project after seeing Leonardo the Mummified Dinosaur, but an epic presentation on mummified dinosaurs. Books and information were limited on other specimens, but through persistence and perseverance, we managed to find enough content to fill a complete tri-fold. Not only did the Dinosphere provide the inspiration for the project, but the excitement as well. And if my kids are excited and inspired when we walk out the doors of the Children's Museum, then I say mission accomplished! 

This post originally appeared on The Children's Museum of Indianapolis' blog. Take a look to see what amazing things are currently going on over at the worlds greatest children's museum!

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