Extra, Extra! Read All About Dinosaurs!

5 01 2012

Even though dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous Period, they’re still making headlines today. Here at the Austin Children’s Museum our feature exhibit, Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice is reaching it’s extinction point; the last day to stomp around with the “terrible lizards” is January 16th. That doesn’t mean that we’ll stop being fascinated by these  ancient creatures. Dinosaur discoveries are happening every day. Here are a few recent news items where dinos and their prehistoric pals made headlines:

Discovery News reports that a “Dinosaur Freeway” has been discovered in Colorado. The 98 million year-old highway consists of over 350 tracks from dinosaurs that traveled along what was then coastal plains. Read all about the discovery and how dinosaurs roamed by clicking this link.

A theropod dino foot from the exhibit.

– Across the pond in Germany, a prehistoric marine reptile from the order Ichthyosauria was found by a private collector looking for fossils alongside a (human) freeway construction site. German newspaper, the Local, describes the importance of the discovery – the newly unearthed reptile lived between 65 and 145 million years ago and up until its discovery, scientists had thought that the Ichthyosauria was extinct by then.

The Smithsonian reports that long before the first paleontologist sat behind a desk studying fossils, mysterious tracks and bones were shaping folklore around the world. As recently as the 1950’s, villagers in small Chinese towns had traded stories about mythical birds and creatures that traveled near the villages and brought good luck. Read the full article to learn how these folktales help paleontologists make new discoveries. 

Come visit the dinosaurs before they become extinct!

– Biologists and engineers at UC Berkeley are learning a thing or two about balance from dinosaurs and modern lizards. The research team tested a hypothesis that theropod dinosaurs used their tails to stabilize themselves while they ran and leaped. Students created a robot, named Tailbot, that uses its tail to keep balance. Find pictures and more information by reading the full article.

– And we’ll close out our dinosaur news cast with a heartwarming human interest story… a 4 year-old Canadian girl has found some internet fame with a video where she analyzes the inaccuracies of a model dinosaur in a toy shop. Her video got special attention from the Canadian Museum of Nature who sent her a more anatomically correct dinosaur model. Watch Stella explain why the triceratops toy is anything but and read about her interest in science over at the Ottowa Citizen’s site.

Costume Contest!

19 10 2011

Calling all dinosaurs in training! Are you the fiercest t. rex? How ’bout the most colorful triceratops? Then come into ACM and let us hear you roar!

This month, the Museum is hosting a Dino Costume Contest. If you think you’re the best-looking dino in town, then come in with your homemade costumes and you may win a membership here at The Austin Children’s Museum. In order to win as the most creative creature, you must follow these guidelines:

  • Make your dino-suit at home (must be homemade)
  • Wear it on your visit to the Museum
  • Take a photo wearing your costume with your fiercest dino-face in the Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice exhibit
  • Upload your photo to the ACM Facebook Album
  • Invite your friends and family to “like” your photo
  • The winner of the most popular photo will receive an ACM membership
  • Second and third place prizes will also be awarded

We’ve included instructions to make your very own costume, watch the slideshow below and follow the link to the costume instructions.

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Have fun creating!

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10 10 2011

Dinosaur Diets...

Some dinosaurs were carnivores (meat-eaters) but most were herbivores (plant-eaters).

About 65% of the dinosaurs were plant eaters and 35% percent were meat-eaters. We know this because there are way more fossils found of herbivores than carnivores. For example, over a hundred Protoceratops fossils have been discovered, but only about a dozen T. Rex fossils have been found.

Within the dinosaur food chain it may have taken hundreds of acres of plants to feed a small group of Triceratops, but these Triceratops could supply a single T. rex with enough food to survive over its lifetime!

If you want to make your own herbivorous Triceratops and carnivorous T-Rex at home, you can demonstrate the dino-diet yourself, just download these neat activities: Dino-Bite Triceratops and Dino-Bite Tyrannosaurus Rex (all you need is a clothespin, glue, and something to color with!) Check out how ours turned out:

Share your clothespin creatures with us and let us know how your Dino’s Bite!

What’s that rumbling in the distance?

3 10 2011



These late-cretaceous creatures are roaming around ACM  in our exhibit, Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice. Can you handle the heat from the volcano? Will the ice freeze your toes? You’ll have to come see for yourself, and try not to go extinct!

Our staff had the wonderful opportunity to get a hands on learning experience about dinosaurs thanks to our friends at The Austin Nature and Science Center. They even have their very own Dino Pit!

If you dig dinosaurs as much as we do, then you should also stop by The Texas Memorial Museum for their Family Fossil Fun Day on Sunday October 9th. You’ll see Sarahsaurus aurifontanalis, an early ancestor to giant sauropod dinosaurs. Learn about the discovery of this claw-handed dinosaur!

Are you tired of all this dino-talk yet? Then come to ACM’s Dinosnore Sleepover October 14th-15th, meet a paleontologist, eat some prehistoric pizza and sleep like a stegosaurus!  You have until October 7th to sign up.

You should check out all these fun dino-deals, and tell us about it… don’t be a no-fun-a-saurus!

Stomp…stomp…CRUNCH!: Make your own Dinos!

21 09 2011

Have you heard a distant rumble? Could it be the footsteps of ancient giants approaching? Get ready because on September 24th, our newest exhibit, Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice opens at the Museum! We are taking a million steps back into the historic world where dinosaurs roamed free.

Here are drawings of a couple of very well known dinosaurs:



These dinosaurs roamed the Earth during the Jurassic Period. There has been fossil evidence discovered in the United States to prove that both the Stegosaurus and the Brontosaurus wandered our lands. If you want to learn more about these two dinosaurs go to  Science Kids – they give you a ton of cool facts about the Stegosaurus and Dinosaur Facts will tell you all about the Brontosaurus.

When you come to ACM to see our fall exhibit, there will be three different sections of dinosaur country to explore. We will have the Land of Fire (a warm dinosaur habitat), Land of Ice (a cold dinosaur habitat) and a Field Research station where you will investigate clues about dinosaurs and get to dig for bones. Each area will have games and activities that will be so much fun and you may learn a thing or two about the dinosaurs that you never knew existed.

A few species of dinos were found underneath the land here in Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife will tell you about the dinosaurs that lived on our turf.

We found a dinosaur craft from Kids Craft Weekly that was super fun to make, click on the jump to see how to make a dinosaur!

Read the rest of this entry »


27 05 2011

Do you love dinosaurs? Do you want to get your hands dirty learning about them? The Museum is kicking the summer off with a Dino Mania camp May 31-June 3. There are still spots available, so sign up here!

For the interested archeologist, there will be many activities, stories, songs, and games that will let you explore the world of dinosaurs. You even get to make a hatching baby dino.

Velociraptor fossilized eggs at fotopedia

There is much to learn about dinosaurs such as scientific names and how to uncover fossils. Activities also include making your very own tooth necklace, playing dino concentration games and many more.

Dinosaurs are surrounded by history and geology. They are very interesting and loved by most kids. The Museum wants to share knowledge and experience of the dinos with everyone.

Budding Paleontologists

16 06 2009

A Paleontologist is a scientist who studies the fossils of animals, plants, and other organisms from prehistoric times.  Do you know how Paleontologists find dinosaur fossils?

dino_blog2 copy

They have to carefully remove the fossils that are buried deep in the ground.  Many times this requires very delicate tools, like a brush. The Paleontologist brushes the dirt away from the fossil, until it is free from the ground. You can create your own archaeological dig at home!

dino_blog copy


-Toy dinosaurs or any other “fossil” you would like to use

-Paint Brush


1) Bury the artifacts just below some sand or dirt.

2) Carefully brush the dirt away from the artifact, just like a Paleontologist.


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