Imagine using the past to understand the future. Imagine exploring the history of dinosaur discovery across the planet while learning about climate change in South Florida.
Welcome to “Expedition: Dinosaur!” at the Fort Lauderdale Museum Of Discovery and Science, where visitors will encounter a baby Velociraptor, help move a giant Stegosaurus and even climb inside the mouth of a T-Rex.
The exhibit is about interacting with the dinosaurs, but it’s also about the journey of exploration itself.
“In the exhibit, you’re going through the early days of fossil discovery and paleontologists being out in the field with rock, hammers, chisels and brushes, and then coming into more of the modern day where we’re looking at how are we doing DNA analysis?" Joe Cox, president of the museum explains. "How are we using modern technology to really understand dinosaurs on a whole different level?”
The experience begins with the first new dinosaur IMAX movie that’s been made in a decade. The film opens with stunning images, vivid colors and heart-pounding sounds" “Discover an ancient realm of midnight suns, night hunters and river monsters; A prehistoric kingdom lost to time and ice. It’s the coldest, windiest place on earth, but Antarctica’s wilderness was not always frozen.”
Joe says the film connects the dots between recent discoveries in Antarctica and our understanding of long-term, natural climate change versus short-term, human-caused climate change.
“So the paleontologists in Antarctica were able to find ferns and tree ferns and evidence of plants that today live in a much warmer habitat,” Joe said. “And when we look at fossil evidence, we see climate change happens, but it’s slow; it’s gradual. When we look at more recent fossil history and we look at how our world is changing, things are happening so much faster, and the only difference is human impact.”
Climate change has become a priority for the museum. One of the permanent exhibits, "Prehistoric Florida," shows how the land and sea have been interacting and changing for a very long time. There's even a block of ice that slowly melts over the course of the day so visitors can literally watch sea level rise with their own eyes.
“We recognize that we as a science museum are responsible for giving kids the skills that they need in order to be able to help Fort Lauderdale, Broward, Florida, thrive in a world that is impacted by climate change today and into the future," Joe said.
Like so many other South Florida attractions, the museum is closed until further notice, but the hope is that things will get back to normal before the exhibit goes extinct on May 25.