Cultivating Knowledge in Mommy's Garden

Following the adventures of two little girls and their mommy, as they learn and create together!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Museum of the Rockies

As part of our unit study on dinosaurs, we planned a trip to the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana.  We were here last summer on our way to Yellowstone, but I wanted to come again to reinforce our learning.  (We definitely got our money's worth out of this day, we spent NINE hours at the museum!)
There are some very interesting and educational exhibits showing what the oceans looked like during different periods of time.  The girls favorite was the “Squid in a Cone”  cephalopod. 
There is a working lab that you can watch the scientists cleaning and studying different bones.  
In the small kids area, there are puzzles, blocks, puppets, and games all about dinosaurs.  We visited this area a couple times.
The first exhibit we wrote about was “Big Al” the Allosaurus.  We learned that Big Al was between 13 and 15 years old and he had had a hard life.  He had many broken bones and injuries. 

Next we saw leg bones of different Sauropods.  The smallest one was from a baby, approximately 2 weeks out of it’s egg.  In this case there are s Stegosaurus back plate and tail spikes!
These two displays show Deinonychus attacking other dinosaurs.  First the Tenontosaurus and then a Sauropod.  Selena liked the bright colors on the male Deinonychus.  We learned that dinosaurs are like modern birds, in that the males probably exhibited brighter colored skin and feathers, while the females had more dull colors. 
This Plesiosaur model has a seriously toothy smile!  While not a dinosaur, it did live at the same time as the dinosaurs.
Selena and Abby found their next writing stop at the baby Maiasaura display.  The picture on the left is a model of one of the embryonic Maiasaura that were found in the Egg Mountain region of Montana.  The first embryonic dinosaurs found in the world.  The second picture is of a hatchling Maiasaura.
In the Triceratops exhibit we got to see a life sized Triceratops as well as a sleeping baby!
The museum has the most complete growth series of Triceratops skulls in the world.  Selena wanted to do her last study sheet about the different skulls.
The other exhibits in the museum include a Native American display and a pioneer life area, and the traveling exhibit was all about Napoleon and his treasures.  The girls were just about done behaving for the day, so we didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked in this area.  My favorite things to see though were the jeweled bracelet that Napoleon had made for his sister, and the paintings from the collection.  I don’t know enough history to really appreciate all of the items, but they sure were beautiful.  No photography was allowed, so I didn't get any pictures.
After all our “work” was done for the afternoon, we went to the kids play area upstairs.  It is a lot of fun.  It is set up like a little Yellowstone discovery area with air pump geysers, a watch tower with binoculars,  a stream where you can catch fish with magnetic poles, and so much more.  The girls had a blast pretending to camp and cook food in the little campsite exhibit.  They also got to pretend to look for birds and other wildlife.  (for some reason I didn't take any pictures of this area)

As if the first 7 hours at the museum weren't enough, we went back in the evening for a talk by Dr. Jack Horner.  The talk was the keynote speech for the Bridger Raptor Festival.  Dr. Horner was really funny and it was a great talk.  The girls even got his autograph :)

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