Martinsville, Virginia


The Dinosaurs Are Coming!


On January 12th the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) will unveil their newest exhibits "Dinosaurs" and "Dinosaur Discovery." The special exhibits will feature spectacular dinosaur displays from VMNH, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. To celebrate the opening of the exhibits VMNH will host the Dino Day Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

A variety of dinosaur skeleton casts will be on display in "Dinosaurs" including an Allosaurus skeleton, a skeleton of a 14 million year old baleen whale - Eobalaenoptera - suspended from a towering 40-foot ceiling, an animatronic model of a Triceratops, a display of a Syntarsus dinosaur with its prey, a Tyrannosaurus rex skull, a Phytosaurus model, and dinosaurs bones and other fossils collected at actual VMNH research sites around the world.


Life-size casts of dinosaurs dominate the exhibit, which includes a 40-foot long skeleton cast of an Acrocanthosaurus, a massive carnivorous theropod dinosaur that existed in what is now North America during the early Cretaceous period, between 125 million and 100 million years ago. The exhibit also includes a 12-foot long skeleton cast of a Deinonychus, a carnivorous dromaeosaurid dinosaur. Dromaeosauridae were small-to medium-sized feathered carnivores that flourished during the early Cretaceous period, about 115 to 108 million years ago.

Other specimens and models include a Tenontosaurus skeleton cast, a cast of a Triceratops skull and more. Don't miss the unique skull cast of a Diabloceratops, whose name translates to "Devil Hornface"!



As you visit the Dinosaurs exhibit, experience the story of Virginia  fossil discoveries and learn more about the "missing" Virginia dinosaurs. Learn about types of fossils, how fossils are formed and where they are found. Learn what a dinosaur is by comparing and examining different specimens. See examples of fossils found in Virginia and elsewhere. 

Be sure to visit the "Fossil Overlook" exhibit on the second floor for a bird's-eye view of the skeletons as well as a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Visitors can also experience the "Dinosaur Discovery" exhibit in the Temporary Exhibit Hall, featuring an interactive dinosaur-themed maze for children, families, and visitors of all ages. 

Dino Day festival activities will include:

  • Presentations: Experience informative presentations by leading scientists.
  • Dino Dig Pit: Strap on your goggles and grab your tools to search for "dino fossils" in the Dino Dig Pit.
  • Educational Activities and Crafts: Take part in fun educational programs and create dinosaur-inspired crafts to take home.
  • Vertebrate Paleontology Lab: The Elster Foundation Vertebrate Paleontology Lab is viewable to visitors through large windows in The Harvest Foundation Great Hall that offer a glimpse into the important work done by VMNH scientists and volunteers.
  • Special Dino Films: Don't miss exciting, educational dinosaur films.
  • Costumed Dino Character: Have your picture taken with 'Cera' the Triceratops.


While at the museum, enjoy a snack, lunch or a coffee at the Paleo Cafe and check out the wide selection of dinosaur themed toys, books, activity kits and apparel in the VMNH Store.


The Dino Day Festival will be held Saturday, January 12th, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The "Dinosaurs" and "Dinosaur Discovery" exhibits will remain open until August 25th.