Rochester Museum & Science Center Exhibit Features Giant Animatronic Dinosaurs

Visitors come face-to-face with the greatest creatures that ever roamed the earth at Colossal DINOSAURS: Bigger Than Ever!, the new traveling exhibit at the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC).

A huge T. rex (75 percent of its real size) will greet visitors in the Welcome Center lobby. Adding to the thrills, the dinosaurs actually roar and move. They will take up residence in the Riedman Gallery for the public to experience from January 29 through May 1, 2011. Walking, hatching and teeth gnashing, mighty T. rex is joined by more than a dozen other prehistoric creatures of land and sky. The RMSC’s presentation of Colossal DINOSAURS: Bigger Than Ever! is made possible by presenting sponsor ESL Federal Credit Union and media sponsor Time Warner Cable.

“It has been our experience that animatronic dinosaur exhibits are beloved and timeless, never ceasing to amaze audiences,” said Kate Bennett, president, RMSC. “We are excited to engage the community on a theme that holds such fascination. These enormous, animatronic dinosaurs help visitors imagine the past and inspire conversations that extend learning across the generations. We’re pleased to host this exhibit, support Rochester and inspire the community.”

Colossal in size and individually handcrafted, each monstrous creature holds an uncanny resemblance to what scientists believe dinosaurs really looked like more than 65 million years ago. The animatronic element adds to the excitement, further engaging audiences. Built using the latest computer programming technology, the creatures’ motion is amazingly fluid, lifelike and brilliantly complex. Distinguished paleontologists are consulted on each aspect of the dinosaurs’ attributes and functioning – all to further the realism of these gigantic creatures. Feeding, roaring and fighting– these dinosaur models act and interact with captivating authenticity. Visitors are transported back to the Mesozoic era, experiencing the splendor of the ancient life.

With several interactive areas of the exhibit, visitors immerse themselves in the action. Visitors walk in the shoes of a paleontologist at the model dig site – a pit that holds numerous bones waiting to be uncovered. With a crayon in hand, fossil rubbing stations offer children the opportunity to take home an impression of the dinosaurs they’ve encountered. Hands-on robotics put visitors in control of the dinosaurs’ movements, and help them understand the unique inter-workings that bring these creatures to life. This process is also explained trough a video on how these dinosaurs are crafted and given motion.

In addition, visitors experience what it would have been like to touch these creatures by feeling a dinosaur skin replica – the same lizard-like material covering the models. Children can also climb into a giant dinosaur nest to play with books and puppets, or dress up in dinosaur costumes. Magnetic boards with various moving pieces of the ancient environment (including dinosaurs, ancient trees and plants) allow children to interact together while creating their own story. Stimulating minds, this board of original art helps spark conversation and generate interest in the exciting prehistoric time these children are learning about.

Thundering and flapping into the exhibit space, dinosaur replicas and other items on display are listed below. Most notably is a giant T. rex measuring 75 percent of its actual size. Others include:

Apatosaurus (formerly known as “Brontosaurus”) and its young

Time period: Late Jurassic, 156-144 million years ago

Location: Western United States, Northwestern Mexico

Chasmosaurus and its young

Time period: Late Cretaceous 99-65 million years ago

Location: North America

Protoceratops (2 total)

Protoceratops nest with hatchlings

Time period: Late Cretaceous, 85-80 million years ago

Location: Mongolia


Time Period: Late Jurassic, 156-144 million years ago

Location: Western United States, Southern India, China, Southern Africa

Tyrannosaurus rex (2 total)

Time Period: Late Cretaceous, 68-65 million years ago

Location: Western United States, Southwest Canada, Asia


Time period: Late Cretaceous: 99-65 million years ago

Location: North America

Maiasaura with its young

Maiasaura nest with eggs and hatchlings

Time period: Late Cretaceous (Campanian): 74 million years ago

Location: North America


Time period: Late Cretaceous: 99-65.5 million years ago

Location: North America

Uniquely, some museum collection items are incorporated into the exhibit. Opossums and certain birds, such as the loon, lived alongside the last large dinosaurs and will be displayed in the exhibit. Most scientists now believe that some dinosaurs (including those in the T. rex family) were the early ancestors of birds. In short, living birds are simply a type of dinosaur. This concept is further discussed with a chart depicting the intricate transition of a dinosaur to a bird.

Completing the experience, visitors can explore Expedition Earth, a permanent exhibit at the RMSC. This exhibit is full of numerous local fossils, many more than 370 million-years-old. Also, visitors can use an interactive to explore theories on why dinosaurs became extinct. Then, venture into the RMSC gift shop for a variety of unique items for children such as dinosaur dig kits, dinosaur build kits – complete with motion and sound, puppets and more!

Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) receives major funding from Monroe County. RMSC includes a planetarium, nature center and science/regional history museum. The Rochester Museum & Science Center stimulates broad community interest and understanding of science and technology, and their impact—past, present, future—on our lives. For more information about RMSC, visit

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