Ashley Wlodarczyk snapped photographs Saturday as her smiling 6-year-old son, Daniel, stood in front of a moving, roaring model of a dinosaur more than twice as tall as Daniel.
It was Dino Day at the Virginia Museum of Natural History, and Daniel said he thought the dino behind him looked a lot like the stuffed Tyrannosaurus rex he brought with him from home and was cuddling.
When asked what else he liked most about Dino Day, Daniel pointed to a cast of a skeleton of a 14-million-year-old baleen whale (Eobalaenoptera) suspended overhead.
When his mother was asked what she liked most about Dino Day, she said, “All the displays they have.”
Specimens on display included Allosaurus, an animatronic model of a Triceratops, a model of a Syntarsus dinosaur with its prey, Tyrannosaurus Rex skull, Phytosaurus model, Pteranodon, Acrocanthrosaurus, Tenontosaurus, Deinychus and Triceratops, according to the museum’s website.
There were exhibits, presentations, games, crafts, dino films and costumed dino characters, according to the museum website and museum spokesman Zachary Ryder.
Alton Dooley, curator of paleontology, and others helping him were pouring liquid resin into molds to make a replica of the skeleton of a giant ancient beaver, according to Dooley and Ryder.
Sterling Nesbitt, a dinosaur expert from Virginia Tech, gave a presentation about dinosaurs and their evolutionary cousins more than 200 million years ago.
A walk-through maze allowed people to see fossils, learn facts and take part in interactive activities.
The dino dig pit area allowed children to dig through dirt-like material in search of imitation fossils (pieces of wood shaped like dino bones) and then help attach the pieces they found to a dino skeleton.
Audrey Harris of Martinsville came with her 7-year-old son, William Stanley. “I just like being here and bringing him,” she said. It had been a while since she had been to the museum, she said.
“He liked all of it (Dino Day),” she said of William.
When asked what he liked most about Dino Day, William spread his arms and said, “Everything.”
“What do you want to be when you grow up? Harris asked her son, prompting him.
“A scientist,” said William, who is in the second-grade at Albert Harris Elementary School.
“After a quiet early morning, the crowds really started to funnel in and we ended up with well over 900 visitors attending this year’s Dino Day,” Ryder wrote in an email Saturday afternoon. “It was great to see so many people brave the weather conditions to join in all of the fun.”