Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dino Week: New Jersey State Museum

Up at the very tip of Greater Philadelphia lies Trenton, the state capital of New Jersey.  The city, rich with history, is the home of the New Jersey State Museum (and Planetarium).  Right now, the Museum is in the process of renovating their Natural History wing, slated to open sometime this year.  However, dinosaur hunters can still find plenty to enjoy in the Natural History Highlights exhibit in the meantime.
Upon entering the building  (which by the way is a donation admission museum), one is drawn right away to the animatronic Triceratops, which will be on display throughout the winter season.  Next to this roaring big guy is a real fossil from a Triceratops discovered during one of the Museum's own digs out in Montana. 
Past this case, we were immediately drawn to a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex skull (because we are always drawn to the ferocious T-Rex) accompanied by some pretty intimidating looking teeth.  The skull is right at eye-level, so visitors can come face-to-face with the largest carnivore that has ever been discovered!
As you continue through the exhibit, pay close attention to the information attached to the pieces and you will begin to notice something incredible.  With the except of a few pieces from Montana and Wyoming, all the dinosaur fossils were discovered right in the state of New Jersey.  It's pretty amazing to see the skull of a Mosasaurus, various pieces of the Dryptosaurus, and various dinosaur footprints and realize that these beasts lived right near where we live today.  We even got to see a tooth from our friend, the Megalodon (yes, we know, not really a dinosaur - but so cool!).
Something we also loved about the New Jersey State Museum was the unexpected PLEASE TOUCH signs scattered throughout the exhibit.  We were so used to having to keep our hands to ourselves around fossils, that we were delighted to reach out and interact with some amazing pieces.  We hope that this is a prediction of things to come in the renovated Natural History area.  The Museum map has a big dinosaur footprint in that wing and foretells the coming of a "Natural History Hall", "Interactive Learning Center", and "Scientific Advancement Lab", so we are keeping our fingers crossed!
 More photos from Daily Vacation's VISIT
  Day 1 - Delaware Museum of Natural History
 Day 2 - Philadelphia Zoo
 Day 3 - Adventure Aquarium
Day 4 - Academy of Natural Sciences
Day 5 - Haddonfield
Day 6 - Dinosaur-Inspired Artwork

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