LOS ANGELES, Calif. – This morning, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County celebrated the opening of a new source of civic pride for Los Angeles with its new, 14,000-square-foot Dinosaur Hall featuring the debut of Thomas the T. rex along with more than 300 fossils, 20 spectacular dinosaur skeletons and multi-media interactives. Twice the size of the Museum’s old dinosaur galleries, the new permanent exhibition rivals the world’s leading dinosaur halls for the number of fossils displayed, the size and spectacular character of the major mounts, and the integration of recent scientific discoveries and research into the displays.
Visitors from all over Southern California attended the festive opening day which began with a ribbon cutting with NHM President and Director Jane Pisano and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who called the new Dinosaur Hall a “major gift to Los Angeles and beyond.” The opening day celebration also featured gallery tours, paleontological “dig sites,” and family activities, including free art workshops and craft tables.
Crowds inside Dinosaur Hall were awestruck by the centerpiece of the exhibition, the T. rex growth series containing an extraordinary fossil trio of the youngest known baby, a rare juvenile, and a recently-discovered young adult (Thomas)—one of the ten most complete T. rex specimens in the world. The Dinosaur Hall’s other standout exhibits include an imposing Triceratops; the armor-backed Stegosaurus; the predator Allosaurus; a 68-foot, long-necked Mamenchisaurus; and giant marine reptiles that swam in the oceans covering what is today California.
Using the exhibit’s interactive touch screens, guests engaged in simulated paleontological role-play as excavator, prospector or illustrator, and learned about dinosaur senses and how they may have sounded based on a CT scan of a dinosaur brain.
Today’s opening marks the mid-way point of NHM’s institutional transformation, as well as a thoughtful reconsideration of what science and the story of our planet means to visitors. The transformation continues with the opening of an exhibition about Southern California’s natural and cultural history in 2012, and more than three acres of urban nature experiences and exhibits serving as a new front yard for the Museum and the Otis Booth Pavilion in 2013.