Dinosaurs return to THEMUSEUM

Photo by Will Huang
Photo by Will Huang

From the life-like reconstructions of dinosaurs to hearing what scientists believe a tyrannosaurus rex sounded like, Dinosaurs: The Edge of Extinction allows for viewers to go back and see how these prehistoric creatures would have lived.

From looking at the way dinosaurs age to analyzing coprolite — fossilized poop — to see what dinosaurs might have eaten, this exhibit sets out to engage people with theories of how they might have lived.

Encapsulating the third floor of THEMUSEUM, the exhibit is small, but concise. Suspended from the ceiling is a life-like pterodactyl with its wings spread wide and large jaw open. Also on display is a life-size tyrannosaurus rex and triceratops, the real stars of the exhibit. Most of the information is featured around these enormous displays with details about what sort of conditions they lived in and how they survived.

The main learning objective of the exhibit is how such large creatures interacted with an environment that was just as fierce as they were.

Interactive elements were integral to the exhibit, with videos used to display current academic research conducted to better understand the lives of these dinosaurs. Visitors can even handle real bone fragments from a tyrannosaurus rex, adding to the awe the exhibit inspires.

One of the most surprising things featured in the exhibit was the historiography of paleontology itself. When certain discoveries occurred and under what circumstances people discovered bone fragments was its own mini-showcase that goes into detail about popular culture representations of dinosaurs in movies over the past 50 years.

Even at the age of 24 I found this exhibit fun and entertaining. While it seemed to be small in size, it was bountiful in content which intrigued my inner 10-year-old to no end.

Reading how fast a baby tyrannosaurus rex could run left me giddy with joy. It brought me back to when I was a child and would imagine myself digging for dinosaur bones in the school sandbox.

An enjoyable exhibit all around, if you have the opportunity to check out Dinosaurs: The Edge of Extinction I say do it. You and your inner child won’t be disappointed.

– Bryan Stephens

The dinosaur is a celebrated cultural icon. With so much mystery surrounding their existence, facts are often warped to thrill audiences.

THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener seeks to enlighten the public with Dinosaurs: The Edge of Extinction. I was excited to check out the exhibit and was not disappointed.

The exhibit makes great use of its space with larger-than-life displays dominating the entire floor. A wide range of detail is provided, from dinosaur-vision to an incredibly life-like feathered raptor I was too spooked to touch. Visuals go even further to include plants, dinosaur eggs and a The Lost World mutoscope. The result is theatrical grandeur reminiscent of the Jurassic Park franchise.

The goal is to make the subject material accessible to all ages, so there is something for everyone. Most of the language is informal, but kids won’t be interested in that anyway. All special terminology is explained for non-paleontologists.

You might notice that the exhibit is overtly focused on the triceratops and tyrannosaurus rex. This works in its favour because it is able to devote more space to the most adored dinosaurs in pop culture. If you haven’t considered the smack down between these two, you are in for a treat.

The exhibit cranks up the cool factor, debunking myths but also introducing new facts. I never dreamed of touching sculpts of dismembered dinosaur parts or marvelling at 65 million-year-old poop, which is actually very important to dinosaur research.

Standing next to a proportional adult tyrannosaurus rex leg, I was reminded of the power of these animals but also the terror they embodied.

I now appreciate the giant beasts but we owe our existence to that fateful meteorite. Dinosaurs were a respectable bunch but I’m just fine with them as movie franchise fodder and toy lines.

The exhibit is professionally executed, on par with something you would see at the Ontario Science Centre. It is amazing to have such an attraction here in Kitchener-Waterloo creatively promoting science to the public. Providing about an hour of content, Dinosaurs: The Edge of Extinction is a fun and educational way to spend your afternoon.

– Joshua Awolade


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