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Monday January 11, 2016

If you are looking for something fun for your family to do during the cold month of January, the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville, Virginia has you covered with scaly, Jurassic fun! On Saturday, January 30, 2016, the museum will host their annual Dino Day Festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. *This event was originally scheduled for January 23 and postponed due to weather.

This spectacular family festival features dinosaur specimens and displays from the collections of the Virginia Museum of Natural History, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Dino Day Festival guests can see full-size dinosaur casts, including Allosaurus, Acrocanthasaurus, Tenontosaurus and Deinonychus, as well as skull casts of Apatosaurus, Dunkleosteus, Appalachiosaurus and more! Real dinosaur fossils from the museum collections will also be brought out for viewing.  Several new specimens will be on display this year and include some of the most well-known and feared dinosaurs of their time, the Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops!

The Virginia Museum of Natural History brings in prominent scientists each year to the festival to give informative presentations. This year, Dr. Alex Hastings, assistant curator of paleontology at VMNH, will give visitors a fun and exciting look into the science of dinosaurs.

Cold Blooded Encounters of Monroe, North Carolina will also be at the festival to provide visitors with a truly unique experience. Get up close and personal with a live emu to see the relationship between modern birds and dinosaurs. You can also meet a giant tortoise and crocodile! 

The indoor festival is fun for the entire family and will feature educational activities, games and crafts all day long! A crowd favorite among young dinosaur fans is the Dino Dig Pit where future paleontologists can practice their excavation skills. Free face-painting, dino-tattoos and balloon animals, will also be offered during the event.

Costumed dino characters will roam the halls of the museum throughout the day and you can get your photo taken with "Cera" the Triceratops! Dinos on Parade is another activity area that offers an opportunity for children to get in on the act and dress up like dinosaurs, too.

I love taking my young son to this event each year and seeing the sheer wonder on his face as he takes in and experiences all of the exhibits and activities. We both particularly enjoy seeing the Virginia Museum of Natural History’s animatronic Triceratops that magically comes to life to delight dino fans of all ages.

The Virginia Museum of Natural History is a working research laboratory, so in addition to all the fun of the festival, guests can also watch through large windows as paleontologists and scientists work in their labs.

The best part of all is that you can make this event into a full day of fun. Convenient and free parking, on-site dining at the Paleo Café, free Wi-Fi and plenty of places to sit and rest while the kids play makes this a winning day trip venue for families. Plan to visit the area’s seven other museums, hiking trails and artist studios to turn it into a multi-day getaway. 

Don’t forget to take home some of the fun! The Virginia Museum of Natural History has a wide variety of dinosaur merchandise to purchase in their gift shop including stuffed animals, t-shirts, fossil kits, model dinos and so much more.

Dino Day Festival at the Virginia Museum of Natural History is presented by Roanoke Cement, the Martinsville Kiwanis Club, the Martinsville-Henry County EDC’s Tourism Division and Cold Blooded Encounters Reptile Zoo & Science Center.

The museum is located at 21 Starling Avenue in Martinsville. Virginia Museum of Natural History members get free admission and tickets are also available for purchase by non-members: $5/adult; $4/seniors and college students; $3/children 3-18; and free for children under 3. Call 276.634.4141 or visit www.vmnh.net for more information.

Tags: Dining, Entertainment, Festivals, Insider's Tips, Local Business, Martinsville, MHC Economic Development Corporation, MHC Visitor Center, Museums, Virginia Museum of Natural History,