Jul. 24--Thirteen years ago, Hurricane Fran ravaged the Museum of Life and Science's old Dinosaur Trail, forcing museum officials to close the popular, nearly 30-year-old exhibit. It's taken more than a decade for the Durham museum to open a new one. It happens Saturday during the grand opening of the $1.5 million Dinosaur Trail. The two-acre, quarter-mile, mostly shady, paved loop on the museum's campus features about 20 life-size dinosaurs and a 1,000-square-foot fossil dig site where children can find and take home fossils that are millions of years old. Production delays mean one group of dinosaurs, the Leptoceratops, won't make it in time for the opening. But the rest of the exhibit, including the 65-foot-long Alamosaurus, is complete.
The dinosaur models, made of a steel frame coated with fast-drying plastic, are for looking, not touching. But children are welcome to climb on the 18-foot-long Parasaurolophus at the trail's entrance.
The dinosaurs depicted hail from the Late Cretaceous period, dating from 100 million to 65 million years ago. And the plant life along the trial, including ferns, southern magnolia, eastern hemlock and palms, were all considered to be what might have been found during that period. Hundreds have seen the new trail this month. The museum opened it early to members, who got a preview as crews were finishing the project. Museum officials, expecting a flurry of visitors this weekend, have set up free shuttle service. Museum-goers can park at Brogden Middle School, 1001 Leon St., and take the shuttle to the museum on Murray Avenue. The shuttles will travel a 15-minute round trip between the museum and school. Two shuttles will run 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday. One will run noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The N.C. Fossil Club also will showcase hundreds of fossils and talk about their collection adventures on Saturday and Sunday. And Paint Savvy will offer face painting; fees start at $5 for that. Everything else is free with admission. Sarah.Lindenfeld@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8983
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Source Citation:"Dinosaurs stalk the revamped trail at museum." News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) (July 24, 2009): NA. General OneFile. Gale. Alachua County Library District. 11 Sept. 2009
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