GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Take a prehistoric road trip with the Florida Museum of Natural History during the opening of “Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway with artist Ray Troll and paleontologist Kirk Johnson” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 4.
University of Florida mascots Albert and Alberta are scheduled to appear from 11 a.m. to noon for visitor photographs with the Albertosaurus skeleton in the exhibit. UF paleontologists, paleobotanists and geologists, as well as members of state fossil clubs including the Tampa Bay Fossil Club, Southwest Florida Fossil Club, Florida Fossil Hunters and the Florida Paleontological Society will also speak with visitors and display specimens from their collections.
“Visitors will have the chance to talk with experts, ask questions and examine real fossils,” said Amanda Erickson Harvey, Florida Museum education assistant. “The activities complement the exhibit, and it will be fun for visitors of any age.”
Opening day events also include face painting and two docent-guided tours of the exhibit at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Visitors may even compare their feet with the cast of a duck-billed dinosaur footprint in the museum’s Discovery Room.
Outside the museum, field vehicles with tools used by museum researchers will be displayed, and visitors may borrow fossil- and dinosaur-themed books, DVDs and CDs from the Alachua County Library District bookmobile.
Food from High Springs Orchard and Bakery as well as David’s BBQ will also be available for purchase.
The exhibit features 30 fossils, including a complete skeleton cast of Triceratops horridus, the famous three-horned dinosaur, in addition to Albertosaurus, a ferocious carnivore that lived about 70 million years ago. The fossils complement 19 color prints and five large-scale murals of Troll’s creative artwork, which illustrates imagined scenes from prehistoric times and brings fossils from the museum’s research collection to life. The exhibit also features a paleontology laboratory where visitors may watch museum scientists, volunteers and students prepare and examine actual fossils from the field.
While opening day activities are free, admission to “Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway” is $5 for adults, $4.50 for Florida residents, seniors and college students and $4 for ages 3-17. Value admission tickets to the exhibit and Butterfly Rainforest are also available, $13 for adults, $12 for Florida residents, seniors and college students and $9 for ages 3-17. Museum members receive free admission to both exhibits.
“Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway” is presented by the Toomey Foundation for the Natural Sciences Inc. and the Florida Museum Associates Board. The exhibit was organized by the Burke Museum at the University of Washington.
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