Hatching the Past takes a rare and exciting look into the life of dinosaurs that once roamed our planet. A captivating and interactive experience for all ages!
The exhibition is organised around eight sections which cover a large variety of different dinosaurs including plant eating dinosaur eggs and their babies.
Visitors can touch real dinosaur bones, reconstruct nests - one more than eight feet in diameter, inspect what life was like for a baby dinosaur inside an egg and uncover dinosaur remains in an archeological dig site! Each section offers the rare chance to see life-like models of embryos and hatchings. Through this exhibition, the visitor will take a rare and exciting look at the life of dinosaurs through their eggs, nests and embryos.
Hatching the past presents new discoveries into dinosaur behaviour and reproduction, and introduces the science and people behind their discoveries. Discover which dinosaurs roamed New Zealand and the rest of the globe, where they roamed and the clever people who discovered their remains.
'Hatching the Past: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies' is an international touring exhibition. This natural history exhibition has a proven record of achieving record audiences in America and Australia and is on now at the Waikato Museum.
From my earliest days, I have been a regular at museum exhibitions covering all sorts of things, from archaeological digs from Egypt to Pop Art, from what to do if Auckland turned into a Volcano to the dreams of Leonardo da Vinci... and I have to say the gamut of quality runs as widely as the topics. However, the trend seems to be one of ever-improving interaction. No more the aimless wandering down ranked glass ceses, able to look at, but really experience, the reality only a few scant centimetres in front of you.
Nowdays you get exhibitions like this one... where there are informative displays based around computer terminals running high-end presentations that you can sit down and control the flow of information from, models and casts you can touch, feeling the ridged texture of the long-ago crushed egg shell, or the tiny cracks and pits in the single bone almost as big as the child staring raptly at it. Sure, there were still a few bits marked "please don't touch" or "We ask that you not sit on this display" - but that's only fair really... they are rare and very hard/expensive to replace, and unlikely to be fixable in time for the next exhibition should they get dinged by a thoughtless ruffian.
I was also impressed by how hardcopy materials were included... little quiz books for the kids to rush around and discover the answers... prompting casual competition to see who could learn all the right answers first. A special pull-out from the local newspaper that was freely available in stacks to visitors who didn't get the paper in their letterbox beforehand, or who forgot to bring one. But by far the best bit of the entire display had to be the fact that we got there late and missed the crowds. It gave us time to wander at our own pace, examine in detail the parts we wanted to study in depth, play the cute little computer games and save a few baby dinosaurs from tar pits and drowning rivers... all very well aimed at the kids, yet still accessible to the adults.
The execution was brilliant, with the layout well thought-out and a lot of displayed efficiently packed into a fairly small space, but without leaving the visitor feeling hemmed in or cramped... as long as there weren't 50 rampaging kids running around, I bet.
Overall, with a range of information, interaction and some very seriously high quality construction, there was nothing I could fault... However I would have liked some quiet background music, or sound effects, or something... my only real gripe was that it felt *too* quiet, leaving us feeling like we were intruding after hours, or going to wake up the night guard. I certainly hope this is addressed when/if this exhibition returns to the city, as I certainly hope it does. This was a great venue for it.
The "Hatching The Past" exhibit was AWESOME! The interactive parts were my favourites, and my absolute favourite were the places where you could dig up Dinosaur nests and see what Dinosaur eggs looked like.
I learned a few things from it that I think I will find useful later on, like the fact that some fossils can be formed while the Dinosaur was still alive, and that those fossils are called "Life Assemblages". I also learned that Palaeontologists divided all the known Dinosaurs into four groups, and organized them by their characteristics.
The exhibit had no parts that I disliked, it was all a great experience for me. I think that it would have been good for kids of all ages, it was a fun way of learning about our prehistoric past. I hope that it will come again sometime, so that people who haven't seen it can experience the excitement, but for now, it was amazing to go to.
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