A Love of Dinosaurs
Most children’s first words are “dadda,” “mamma,” or “kitty.” However, our now-22-year-old son’s first words were Pachycephalosaurus, Deinonychus and Protoceratops. He couldn’t say the word “moon” correctly until he was a teenager, but he could tell us each of the geologic periods and pronounce 13-syllable dinosaur names with near perfection.
It didn’t end with him knowing every dinosaur name. Our son could also describe how big each behemoth was, where it lived and what it ate. While other kids watched “SpongeBob SquarePants” or “Handy Manny,” he watched the BBC documentary series “Walking With Dinosaurs.” If he needed a cartoon diversion, there was always “The Land Before Time” series, which he thought should have been on the Discovery Channel as opposed to the Disney Channel.
Admittedly, at the time of our son’s dinosaur obsession, we went through a dinosaur phase of our own as we tried to keep up with his knowledge so as not to appear incompetent when asked a prehistoric trivia question.
Let’s be honest, even for us, dinosaurs are fascinating.
Perhaps one of the reasons we are so captivated by them is that we can’t go see one — at least not one that is living and breathing. This means that no matter how big or fierce a Tyrannosaurus Rex may be, it is completely safe, since there is no chance of accidentally running into one at summer camp.
Another reason is they left behind really cool skeletons. Sure, there are plenty of fierce creatures in the world, but none compare to the enormity of dinosaur skeletons.
Here in the Intermountain West, we are fortunate to have access to some of the most impressive collections of dinosaur bones in the world. One of these, featuring nearly 30,000 specimens, is found at the spectacular Natural History Museum of Utah, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. In this issue of Community, Natalie Hollingshead explores the Museum’s Golden Anniversary plans.
In addition to its paleontology collection, the museum is home to ever-changing and expanding immersive modern-day educational experiences throughout its spectacular home, the Rio Tinto Center, literally carved out of the hills.
For half a century the Natural History Museum of Utah has changed the way generations think about the wonders of science and the genius of nature here in the Intermountain West and far beyond. Literally millions of visitors (more than two million since moving into its new home in 2011) have travelled through its halls on an unforgettable journey through time, spanning one billion years of life.
The museum is now the No. 1 rated paid attraction in Salt Lake City on TripAdvisor and the recipient of more than 30 local, national and international awards for its stunning architecture, thoughtful exhibit design and more.
If you have not yet visited, there has never been a better time to go. And, if you have, you’ll not want to miss the exciting events and exhibits during the anniversary celebration.