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Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County’s New Dinosaur Hall

Allosaur and Stegasaur Fight Skeletons LA  Museum photoL.A survived Carmageddon, but can it survive the attack of the Dinosaurs? After much anticipation the new Dinosaur Hall has opened at the LA County Natural History Museum in Exposition Park. The exhibition took 5 years to finish, covering 14,000 square feet of space, more than doubles the previous hall, making it one of most impressive dinosaur exhibits in the world with one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeletons found anywhere. Los Angeles has been more known for its Mastadons and Sabretooths from the La Brea Tar Pits (see Page Museum La Brea Tar Pits) next to the LA County Art Museum, but with the dino hall in Exposition Park with more than 300 real fossils, 20 complete dinosaurs and ancient sea creatures, L.A. now houses the largest collection of dinosaurs on the west coast. The mounting of the fossils in poses consistent with most recent theories of dinosaur life allow for a very close up view, with teeth close enough to bite and close enough to see the scratching in the fossil bones for 65 million years of tectonic movements. Sure you can spend 80 bucks for the animatronic Jurassic Park Ride at Universal (see Universal Studios Tour) but why not see the real thing - or at least what's left.

Tricerotops at LA Natrual History Museum photoIn a town known for stars, the headliner of the NHM dinosaur hall is the T-Rex nicknamed Thomas who was uncovered in Montana is 70 percent complete real fossil with the remaining 30 percent sculpted from casts. Thomas isn’t the only T-Rex and the museum displays three of the creatures in a growth series of the world’s only trio of T-Rex’s of different ages, a baby, a juvenile, and sub-adult of the species. But the exhibit is far more the dinosaur world’s most famous carnivore. Upon entering the hall you first encounter a mighty a late Cretaceous Triceratops staring you in the eye and walk under the arching neck of a 65 foot long giant plant eating Mamenchisaurus.

Juvenile T Rex at NHM photoA predator Allosaurus is posed in a fight with the armor plated Stegosaurus dug up in Utah. The allosaur skeletion shows wounds from the tail spikes of a Stegosaur showing it was in an actual fight with one, though the winner is hard to discern after 150 million years.Spread through the exhibition space are multi-media stations where you can “excavate” fossils and watch film footage of a real dinosaur hunting expedition. On the floor above the main halls is the NHM Paleontology Lab where large picture windows allow viewing of the ongoing work of recovering fossils. A guided Gallery Exploration Tours is offered every day at 2 pm meeting at the Dueling Dinos in the central hall just inside the main entrance.

Visiting the Natural History Museum of LA County

Trex skull at NHM Dinosaur Hall photoThe interest in the new exhibit is expected to be bit busy so a timed entrance ticket is required and available online, though you can explore the other exhibit halls of mammals, birds and other creatures until entry time. The museum is located in Exposition Park near the USC Campus and next to the Coliseum and the California Science Center. The museum is open 7 days a week from 9:30 am to 5 pm, all through the year except for 4 major holidays - Christmas Day, New Years Day, Thanksgiving and 4th of July. Admission is $12 for adults, $9 College Students with ID and Seniors, $8 Teens and $5 for Children 5 to 12. Admission is free with a Membership to the LA County Museum system and several Tuesdays through the year are free, check the schedule.
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