Get to the zoo before dinosaurs disappear again

DinoQuest exhibits 33 replicas until Sept. 8

Family: Events, Activities

August 19, 2004|By Joanne E. Morvay | Joanne E. Morvay,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

There are only a few more weeks to get up close and personal with dinosaurs.

Not live ones, of course. But the next best thing at DinoQuest, the summer exhibit at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, formerly called the Baltimore Zoo.

From the astrodon - Maryland's state dinosaur - to the velociraptor - a native of Mongolia, Russia and China - the zoo offers a quick lesson in dinosaur history with life-size sculptures of the extinct beasts and hands-on activities.

Budding paleontologists can dig for fossils in sand and handle true-to-life fiberglass recreations of dinosaur bones. There are dinosaur books to read. And visitors can make their own dinosaur mask to take home.

The exhibit has 33 colorful dinosaur replicas, all sculpted by Guy Darrough. Darrough, the founder of Lost World Studios, is a self-taught and respected fossil collector and illustrator with more than 40 years of experience in paleontology.

Zoo spokesman Ben Gross said Lost World's dinosaurs are an ideal temporary exhibit.

"Dinosaurs continue to really fascinate kids. Although [dinosaurs are] extinct, the exhibit still fits in with our theme because it gives us a chance to talk about animal conservation and habitat extinction," Gross said. "We wouldn't want the world to get to a point where all the animals around were fiberglass."

The dinosaur sculptures are visible from the zoo's African boardwalk in a "prehistoric-looking" setting that makes the replicas appear even more realistic, Gross said.

Like the real dinosaurs, the Baltimore sculptures will soon be extinct. DinoQuest ends Sept. 8. So don't miss the chance to see Daspletosaurus, Oviraptor and Rhamphorhynchus. It might take another few million years for the dinosaurs to return.

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is in Druid Hill Park. Zoo hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through September, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays, and after 4 p.m. kids are free. Admission is $12 for adults, $8, ages 2 to 11, free for under 2. Call 410-366-LION or visit www.baltimorezoo.org.

For more Family events, see Page 33.

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