As parents of 4-year-olds everywhere can attest — and as the image below suggests — we are at peak levels of dinosaur obsession in my house.
In fact, both my 4-year old and 2-year-old sons are pretty much dino-obsessed. When I saw that COSI (Center of Science and Industry) had opened its new American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery in November, I knew we’d soon be planning a day trip to Columbus.
Last weekend, we spent a rainy Saturday discovering the new gallery, which is a collaboration between COSI and the natural history museum. Housed in a completely renovated space at COSI, the permanent gallery features installations of world-class dinosaur exhibits, including a full-size cast skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex.
Sure, there’s nothing more exciting to a pint-sized dinosaur fan than being greeted at the door of the new space by a T-rex, but it was the interactive exhibits and educational videos that held his interest far longer than I expected.
The gallery shares the latest scientific findings about dinosaurs with a focus on how scientists do their research — and everything is presented in a clear, yet compelling fashion that makes it easy for parents to boil down the information and explain it to young visitors.
For example, though we’ve read about the theory that an asteroid wiped out the creatures, Dinosaur Gallery goes into detail about why that was a catastrophic event — what that massive moment of impact did to the Earth and how all those factors affected the resident dinosaur population.
Plus, my oldest son was shocked to learn that dinosaurs never really fully vanished from Earth — modern birds are, in fact, their living descendants.
Between the hands-on microscope exhibits and the friendly COSI staffers showing kids the unique features of dinosaur skulls, in addition to human evolution by comparing skulls, my 4-year-old was in heaven.
Later this month, the Dinosaur Gallery will get a new neighbor, as the adjacent American Museum of Natural History Special Exhibition Gallery, which will feature special exhibitions on a rotating basis, is set to open with the installation of Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World. The exhibit will showcase one of the greatest trading routes in human history, highlighting the migration of peoples from one land to another.
We will definitely be back for a repeat visit this year — hopefully on a nicer day, so we also can enjoy COSI’s outdoor Big Science Park.