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Pretty much everything in the Age of the Dinosaur exhibition, which opened today, is big.

 

Huge graphic timeline panels, vast silhouettes of prehistoric creatures, tall palm-like trees, giant skulls and teeth, and of course, towering animatronic dinosaurs. I feel sure this journey back into a world more than 65 million years old is going to be a big hit through the summer months with visitors young and old.

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Children stare in wonder at the 1.5 tonne Tarbosaurus. The last but certainly not the least, animatronic beast in the Age of the Dinosaur's Jurassic zone. This fearsome T.rex twin lived about 70 million years ago.

But there are many smaller wonders in this exhibition to look out for. Weird-looking bugs and insects nestling in the fern-filled Jurassic swamp and rocky Cretaceous desert. Dinosaur eggs - one is actually hatching - that are guarded by an Oviraptor and Protoceratops. Delicate fossil bones. Smells and sounds bouncing around. And snippets of amazing scientific facts and research that even the most hardcore dino boffins may not be familiar with.

 

Sandy Clark, our Visitor Services manager told me about the opening day which happens to be Good Friday: 'The queues in the morning at the Red Zone's ticket desks were probably the longest we've ever had, so there's a real interest in this exhibition. By about 3pm we had sold out. And then we were busy putting up signs to warn people. We actually sold about 2,000 tickets on the day. We had a few refunds I heard, but this was only because children got too scared and had to leave!'

 

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One of the huge evolutionary graphic timelines you'll encounter as you start your exhibition journey.

The exhibition gallery is arranged into two main immersive habitats, the Cretaceous and the Jurassic zones, with surrounding and central areas that showcase many spectacular specimen displays, images, fact panels and interactive tables and an underwater CGI film.

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Jurassic zone's, animatronic Archaeopteryx, the earliest known bird.

There are six roaring animatronic dinosaurs and one dino-bird. In order of who you'll meet first, they are: Camarasaurus and Archaeopteryx, both in the Jurassic zone; moving into the Cretaceous zone, there's Protoceratops with Velociraptor, who face Gallimimus, and finally round the corner, still in the Cretaceous zone, are Oviraptor and Tarbosaurus.

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Cretaceous zone's Protoceratops guards its eggs from the approaching feathery Velociraptor. Tarbosaurus is a shadowy threat in the distance.

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A spectacular Protoceratops skull. There are about seven dinosaur skulls to examine in the exhibition displays

Among the exhibits, you'll find some great interactive challenges. At the Dig It Up and Examine It tables you can piece together the evidence of how we know what the Jurassic and Cretaceous worlds were like. Also check out the kiosks, pictured below, before you leave for the chance to make an online dinosaur scrapbook. If you keep your ticket you can continue your dinosaur and fossil exploration at home on your computer.

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Examine fossils or create your own dinosaur scrapbook at one of the fun interactive tables

Enjoy it. And Happy Easter. You can book exhibition tickets online

 

Find out more about the Age of the Dinosaur exhibition

 

Oh and I'm kinda chuffed that it's my 100th What's new blog on the same day Age of the Dinosaur opened.

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We held three special previews for the Age of the Dinosaur exhibition on Wednesday, 20 April. As you can imagine, it was a pretty frantic day for all involved. There was a fab response and lots of photos too.

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Cheeky Ben Brockman (actor Daniel Roche) star of the Outnumbered TV comedy series, finds his rightful place in front of the exhibition's roaring animatronic Tarbosaurus at the special preview on Wednesday night.

Press and media came first thing in the morning armed with film crews and cameras. Some of you may have caught some of the great coverage in the press and on TV yesterday.

 

Mid-morning, for the first time we invited some of our Twitter followers along with their families to share their thoughts on the exhibition.There was some enthusiastic feedback. Here are some of their comments:

 

'One word 'wow'.

'I'm 27 and I feel 7 years old  all over again this is amazing'

'Mac’s favourite part... Dinosaur poo'.

 

The video review by Euan of the DadTalk blog really sells it for parents of young kids I think. And we enjoyed this blog post and a great set of photos on Flickr.

 

Our thanks to all our Twitter guests who attended the #nhmdino event for their enormous enthusiasm and support. You can read more of what they had to say here on Twitter.

 

Then came the special evening preview where celebrities and children leapt at the chance to appear in a roaring session in front of our biggest and most ferocious animatronic in the exhibtion, Tarbosaurus.

 

Emily Smith, our Head of Communications, says: 'It was a fabulous evening with plenty of fun from dino snacks, a swamp lucky dip to piñata bashing. I was quite scared at first but my mind was put to rest when I realised there were responsible palaeontologists in charge of the dinosaurs.'

 

Read the news story about the Age of the Dinosaur exhibition opening

 

Enjoy the brilliant reviews from some of the kids who also joined the preview night in this video. My favourite is: 'I really like the roboticals'.

 

See some more celebrity photos from the preview night. Select the images to enlarge them

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Comedian Bill Bailey goes rrrrr

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Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis OBE goes rrrrrr

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TV presenter Gail Porter and her daughter go rrrrrrr

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Actor John Hannah goes rrrrrrrr

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Actor Toby Stephens grrrrins