Every kid loves dinosaurs. There’s something about the hulking, lumbering beasts that fires the imagination like nothing else. Unfortunately, unless you possess a time machine, there’s no way to get up close and personal with these fascinating ancient animals. Luckily for dinosaur lovers of all ages, the Houston Museum of Natural Science is offering a one-of-a-kind opportunity to watch real paleontologists at work as they clean and sort dinosaur fossils.
The Morian Hall of Paleontology’s Fossil Preparation Laboratory opened to the public on September 1st, providing dinosaur enthusiasts a unique look into the work of volunteer paleontologists. Museum goers can watch real dinosaur bones and other specimens being cleaned, 3-D scanned, and cataloged in real time.
David Temple, associate curator of paleontology at the museum, says the exhibit not only allows the public the chance to peer inside the world of paleontology, but also aids experts working in the field who will benefit from the work being done during the exhibit:
The public can see every bit of a paleontologists’ daily work. We do all kinds of prep work from gently chipping away rock from fossils to even the mounting of fossils. Virtually everything we are doing in here will help other paleontologists. We are creating teaching opportunities within the paleontology community and for prospective paleontologists.
Museum attendees won’t be actually allowed to handle the specimens themselves – all work will be done behind glass. Still, museum goers can use an intercom system to ask questions or chat with scientists as they work.
The viewing window in the Morian Hall of Paleontology’s Fossil Preparation Laboratory is open every day between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and is included with admission. Tickets are $25 for attendees ages 12 and up, $15 for kids between 3 and 11, and free for kids 2 and under. There are discounts for seniors, college students, and active military members, and there is a free Thursday admission from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.