Update: I saw Sue at the USSRC in Huntsville, Alabama but Sue is a traveling exhibit and has moved on. She'll be visiting the Science and History Museum in Jacksonville, Florida in May 2012.
Be the Dinosaur™ is an exhibit compiled by the famed Field Museum in Chicago and designed with assistance from world-renowned paleontologists to become the world’s first dinosaur simulation. The exhibit is full of interactive displays and computerized animations that allow you to travel back in time to the Cretaceous Period. *
You’ll learn what the world could have been like in the time of dinosaurs through a series placards, hands-on activities and displays.
You can view the world through the eyes of a Tyrannosaurus Rex or a Triceratops.
You can ride through the dinosaur lands in an adventure jeep and uncover dinosaur bones in the dig pits. Young paleontologists are even permitted to keep a fossil as a souvenir of their day.
As fun as the simulators and digging for dinosaur bones can be, the highlight of the exhibit is clearly A T.Rex Named Sue. At 90% complete, Sue is the most intact T-Rex skeleton that has ever been uncovered. She also happens to be the largest ever found at 42 feet long and 13 feet high at the hip.
Pretty fierce, isn’t she?
The massive dinosaur was discovered on land that was part of a Sioux Indian Reservation, but the land belonged to a private rancher, which created quite a controversy. You’d think the skeleton would belong to the rancher right? Well, it turns out that the land was held in a trust by the US Government. Who owned Sue? The rancher or the government?
After five years a judge ruled that the fossil did belong to the rancher, who offered Sue at a public auction to the highest bidder. After only eight minutes of bidding, Sotheby’s had sold Sue to The Field Museum in 1997 for a whooping $8.4 million~ the most money ever paid for a dinosaur fossil.
Workers at the Field Museum spent over 30,000 hours preparing the skeleton that consists of over 250 bones and teeth. To share Sue with those that are unable to travel to Chicago, they completed fully cast replicas to become part of the traveling exhibits.
For a brief time you can experience the Be the Dinosaur™ exhibit and see Sue at The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama before the exhibit moves on to Denver. You can view the exhibit schedule at the Field Museum’s website.
U.S. Space & Rocket Center One Tranquility Base Huntsville, AL 35805 1-800-SPACE
You’ll find hours of operation and admission prices here.
Personally, I believe in a Young Earth, not that we’ve evolved over millions of years. I’m not looking to stir up debate here, I just feel like I should comment for those of you that share the same worldview as myself. As you could imagine, this exhibit is steeped in evolution and it’s kind of hard to get around it. After all, you are stepping back into the Cretaceous Period, that should be a tip off. :) That being said, Sue is really cool to see.
I experienced the Be the Dinosaur™ exhibit as part of the #SCTweetup at the US Space and Rocket Center.