Dino Festival returns | Local News

Some treasures hidden under the earth for many millions of years will be shown to the public for the first time Friday and Saturday.

Never before publicly seen dinosaur fossils will be on exhibit at this year’s Dino Festival at the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH), held from 10 am to 4 pm Friday and Saturday.

The Dino Festival is a “blend of science and entertainment” that will feature life-size cast skeletons of iconic dinosaurs from the Mesozoic Era, dinosaur fossils, dinosaur-themed activities and crafts, face painting, balloon animals, t-shirt printing, a green screen photo booth, food trucks and expert paleontologists,” said VMNH Marketing & Public Relations Manager Zachary Ryder.

This year’s festival is different in that it “better emphasizes the paleontological field work conducted by VMNH scientists and researchers,” Ryder said. “For instance, for years, the museum has conducted dinosaur digs in Wyoming and the field work has yielded a tremendous amount of dinosaur fossils, especially sauropod (long-necked dinosaur) fossils.”

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He added that “most of this fossil material resides inside the museum’s restricted access areas,” but “for this year’s festival, we’re bringing out select fossils discovered in Wyoming that will be publicly exhibited for the first time, as well as other fossils from different regions that have also yet to be put on exhibit.”

According to the VMNH website, the dinosaurs represented by life-sized casts will be:

Triceratops: a dinosaur that survived off of a diet of plants, which had a large frill and three horns. It lived during the Late Cretaceous period which was around 66 to 68 million years ago.

Stegosaurus: a large, meat-eating dinosaur that lived in what is now North America in the Early Cretaceous period around 100 to 125 million years ago. The stegosaurus was a theropod dinosaur, which means that it is a flesh-eater and is characterized by hollow bones and limbs with three toes.

Allosaurus: a large, carnivorous dinosaur from the Late Jurassic period, around 150 to 155 million years ago.

Platecarpus Tympaniticus: a large, 17 foot long, sea-going reptile that lived around 81 to 84 million years ago in the Cretaceous period. It swam in water where the central United States now lies.

Tyrannosaurus rex (skull): a large, carnivorous dinosaur that lived in what is now western North America around 66 to 68 million years ago.

Dromaeosaurus (skull): a medium-size dinosaur that is closely related to the velociraptor and lived in what is now western United States and Alberta, Canada in the Late Cretaceous period around 74 to 77 million years ago.

Albertosaurus (skull): a tyrannosaurid theropod dinosaur that used to live in western North America in the Late Cretaceous period around 70 million years ago.

Edmontosaurus (skull): a duck-billed dinosaur that lived in western North America in the Cretaceous period around 66 to 73 million years ago.

Dunkleosteus (skull): an armored fish that lived around 360 to 380 million years ago and is part of the group of fish called placoderms.

Tylosaurus (skull): a large, sea-going lizard relative, and one of the biggest ocean predators in existence. The skull was almost six feet long, the body over 40 feet long and the mouth was full of sharp teeth allowing it to eat whatever it wanted, from fish to other large lizards.

“Dino Festival offers the community an opportunity to participate in a unique, family-friendly experience that blends science education with entertainment. Additionally, previous Dino Festivals have brought in thousands of visitors from outside of Martinsville and Henry County, providing the community with a significant tourism boost,” Ryder said.

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