Dinosaurs are of massive interest to many young kids and Dinosphere at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has always been a point of intersection for kids and dinosaurs. Today, TCM announced a massive expansion to Dinosphere that’s millions of years in the making!

Dinosphere Expansion at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

While the actual footprint and external size of Dinosphere and the structure of The Children’s Museum will remain the same, inside of the museum, growth and expansion of the actual Dinosphere area will take place.

To start, some of the first fossils from the Jurassic Mile will be displayed at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. In 2022, visitors will see two giant sauropods as they enter Dinosphere. The museum’s Paleo Prep Lab will expand to prep some of the new fossils, which is fantastic because my kids are already obsessed with the work done in the Paleo Prep Lab. We’ll see the hallway between Dinosphere and All Aboard become a Mesozoic Marineland where visitors will feel like they’re underwater with fish and other marine animals from millions of years ago.

Where will the dinosaurs be coming from?

More than 100 scientists from three countries will work in Wyoming to collect bones and material from an excavation site made up of four main quarries in a multilevel 640-acre site. This site has been named “The Jurassic Mile.” A 5-foot, 1-inch femur of a Brachiosaur, found at the site was revealed at the announcement on March 25, 2019.

In addition, there will be trips available to the public for viewing the area and watching the work. It is unknown at this time whether the public will actually be able to dig at the site.

Here’s information from the Press Release from The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis:

Giants of the Jurassic Exhibits in Dinosphere

Specimens from the well-preserved fossil remains at the “Jurassic Mile” site will form the basis for a major expansion of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’ permanent Dinosphere exhibit by adding creatures from the Jurassic Period. The project is already utilizing cutting-edge science, from particle accelerators to some of the most powerful computers on the planet, to help resurrect the Jurassic dinosaurs and add momentum to the process of unearthing the lost world and forgotten lives of the Jurassic.

New Educational Opportunities

Dinosaurs captivate imaginations and are often a child’s first exposure to science. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and its museum partners will now bring the excitement of exploration and discovery to youngsters all over the world as it inspires the next generation of scientists and explorers. There will be more information about how The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis hopes to change the educational landscape in significant, hands-on ways the end of this summer.

Here’s what we know about the Jurassic Team;

·        The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, IN, USA) will serve as the Mission Jurassic project leader. The museum’s current Dinosphere exhibit has captivated more than 15 million visitors since it opened in 2004, inspiring new generations of explorers and scientists. Visitors are introduced to some of the finest examples of past life including a rare mummified dinosaur named Leonardo and Dracorex hogwartsia. The first T. rex ever documented with a wishbone (furcula) and a Gorgosaur with a brain tumor are among other amazing fossils found there. A working Paleo Prep Lab at the museum allows visitors to touch real fossils while paleontologists work on real bones and learn the stories behind them.

·        The Natural History Museum (London, UK) and its founder, ground-breaking paleontologist Sir Richard Owen, first coined the term ‘dinosaur’ meaning ‘terrible lizard’ in 1842. The Natural History Museum is a world-leading science research center, and through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling issues such as food security, eradicating diseases and managing resource scarcity. It is the most visited natural history museum in Europe and the top science attraction in the UK, welcoming over five million visitors each year and its website receives over 850,000 unique visitors a month. Acting Director of Science Richard Herrington says, “The reports from the first excavations reveal it is an exceptional area for further scientific exploration—from the fossils already exposed, the quality of the discoveries so far and the existence of rarely-associated dinosaur trackways.”

·        The Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Leiden, Netherlands) is dedicated to exploring our planet’s biodiversity through past and present. With a collection of 42 million specimens and over 200 researchers working across the globe to describe and understand biodiversity, the center plays an important role in biodiversity discovery and outreach. Their brand new, state-of-the-art museum that will reopen this summer will host an impressive dinosaur exhibit. The museum houses one of the world’s best-preservedTyrannosaurus specimens, which was excavated by their in-house team of paleontologists in 2013. Resident dinosaur expert Professor Anne Schulp has visited the Jurassic site and is optimistic about what may be found there. His team will bring expertise and enthusiasm to the site and hopes to return with a fuller understanding of biodiversity in the Jurassic period. At the very least, the team expects to unearth a better understanding of the species composition and biodiversity in the Jurassic, but the hopes are up for something bigger. “Typical dinosaurs of the Jurassic include well-known creatures such as Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus. It would be marvelous if we could bring one of those impressive beasts to Naturalis,” Schulp said. “The science is at a crossroads where it is now possible to ask new questions about some of the most enigmatic creatures to have walked on Earth, the dinosaurs.”

·        The University of Manchester (Manchester, UK) provides two of its academic staff working with The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. They are Prof. Phil Manning (Chair of Natural History) and Dr. Victoria Egerton(Research Fellow). Dr.  Egerton explained that, “The preservation quality and sheer amount of plants at the Jurassic Mile is extraordinary. During this period, there were no flowering plants and this site provides significant insight to what these giant animals ate and how they may have grown to be so large,” said Prof. Manning. “It is splendid that such an important site has been discovered at just the right time, as the science of paleontology is adapting existing and new imaging techniques to unpick the fossil remains of extinct life.”

·        SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center) National Accelerator Laboratory, a key partner working with the University of Manchester team, will shine some of the brightest X-rays on Earth onto the fossils being excavated from Wyoming at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation

Lightsource (SSRL). SSRL produces extremely bright X-ray light for probing our world

at the atomic and molecular level. New imaging techniques being developed by the team

have already resulted in multiple high-impact scientific publications. “Our primary instrument at SSRL is unique because it can do elemental imaging, which tells us where the elements are in fossils, and it can also do absorption spectroscopy, which tells us what chemical state they’re in,” says Uwe Bergmann, a distinguished SLAC scientist. “It allows us to detect a wide range of important biological and geochemical elements, from light elements like phosphorous and sulfur, all the way to the transition metals.”

·        ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Inc.), the world’s leading provider of mapping and spatial analytics software and services, will collaborate with The Children’s Museum to create a StoryMap of the Jurassic site—sharing both geologic and spatial perspectives on the lives of

Jurassic dinosaurs as well as telling the stories of the paleontologists who are uncovering new and exciting specimens.