Feathered, furred, and ferocious, Bishop Museum’s new dinosaur exhibit will turn what you thought you knew about the mesozoic era upside down. Based on new research from recently discovered fossils in Liaoning Province in China, the animatronic dinosaurs are brightly colored and boast feather or fur. Interactive exhibits allow kids to explore how the dinosaurs moved and hear their calls. Visitors learn how feathers may have helped dinosaurs regulate their body temperatures, and that even baby T. Rex dinos may have been as fluffy (if not as cute!) as a newly hatched chick.
Entering the exhibit, visitors are greeted by a life size animated triceratops and the crowd favorite Tyrannosaurus Rex. Parents quickly lined up their children for a photo in front of the toothy king of lizards. While younger children may be a bit nervous at first- some of these beasts are enormous! – my six and three year olds were fully engaged and curious, with lots of questions. Thankfully, all the dinosaurs are helpfully labeled with both their names and pronunciation guides. Dramatic, colorful lighting sets the mood for prehistoric mystery and excitement.
In addition to the displays, several interactive exhibits are stationed throughout the hall. On our first go, the kids overlooked these as they were on the opposite side of the room from the animatronics and thus at their backs. They did eagerly explore the “fossil digging” table, where brushes are used to uncover fossilized “bones” underneath a rubber “soil.” Later, though, they took the time to learn about dino body parts and digestive systems via the interactive exhibits. With clear instructions and user friendly interfaces, the exhibits are very child-friendly while appealing to adults.
While my kids were a bit young to fully comprehend and make the most out of all the exhibits, they learned a good deal and even my three year old was pointing out the dinosaurs and naming them- even if he did insist the 55 foot long Apatosaurus at the museum’s entrance was a Brachiosaurus. It may not seem a typical thing to do while on a Hawaii Vacation so I was suprised to see so many tourists wiht kids enjoying this exhibit. The exhibit runs through September 5, so we’ll have time for a few more visits to get our dinos straight. I think I learned at least as much as my kids did!