BY DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA STAFF
Reading – The Reading Public Museum has added a new interactive exhibition, “Be the Dinosaur™: Life in the Cretaceous,” a groundbreaking fusion of state-of-the-art video game technology and traditional exhibits, featuring full-size dinosaur bones, a paleontology field station, a Safari Jeep and more. Visitors of all ages can enter into the largest and most complex restoration of an extinct ecosystem ever created. The exhibition is now open in The Museum’s Founders’ Gallery, and will later move to the Meinig Family Gallery where it will remain through Labor Day, Sept. 7.
“Be the Dinosaur” combines the excitement of inquiry-based exhibit design with the proven appeal of dinosaurs via an integration of traditional physical exhibits and sophisticated computer simulation. Visitors are encouraged to explore educational concepts and immediately experience them in the simulation, repeating the process in a cycle of progressive learning.
The truly innovative aspect of “Be the Dinosaur” is the necessary interaction with both traditional and interactive elements to fully experience the exhibit, including educational goals reflecting the most current available data on dinosaur biology, behavior, food sources and ecology. Visitors follow navigation icons and discover the information about dinosaurs and the ecosystem in which they lived. Traditional dinosaur exhibit elements are also present, including fossil reconstructions, and informational displays.
This first-of-its-kind exhibit, combining traditional exhibit elements with sophisticated computer simulation, was developed by an expert advisory panel from the fields of paleontology and related disciplines to ensure high value educational content. It was built from the ground-up to focus on what it is that visitors, particularly children, most wanted to know about dinosaurs — What did a dinosaur do all day? What was it like to be one? The simulation at the core of this exhibit is, to-date, the most complex simulation of dinosaurs and their world ever created.
For the first time, artificially intelligent dinosaurs roam across realistic terrain. The dinosaurs have simulated muscle and digestive systems. Virtual winds circulate digital odors.Plants grow and have accurate nutritional values. In order to prepare for a trip into this exciting virtual world, visitors will need to “dig” through other exhibit components to unlock the secrets of how dinosaurs survived, and thrived.
This exhibition is presented with support from The Wyomissing Foundation and the Friends of the Reading Public Museum and Bruce and Reneé Dietrich Endowment Funds.
The Reading Public Museum is supported in part by grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and is located at 500 Museum Road, Reading. Admission per day is: $10 adults (18-64), $6 children/seniors/college students (w/ID) and free to Members and children three years old and under. The Museum is open daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Web: www.readingpublicmuseum.org