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Dig For Fossils At The Natural History Museum's First Ever Dino Fest

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For all of you aspiring paleontologists and dinosaur enthusiasts out there, the Natural History Museum is hosting Dino Fest this weekend. This is NHM's first ever Dino Fest, but it may become an annual event. On Saturday, September 24 and Sunday, September 25, various dino experts will be presenting talks, demos and interactive activities that will provide insight as to what it's like to be a paleontologist out in the field. Guests will be able to create nature journals and paleo sketches, and hear stories from paleontologists about some of their greatest excavations. There will also be a dig pit, which sounds like a lot of fun. According to Marisol Jara, Coordinator of Public Programs, this means there will be a crate with fossil replicants inside covered with substrate. Kids (and perhaps their grown-up companions) will able to use shovels and brushes to expose the fossils. There will also be demonstrations showing how fossils are prepared for transport and display in a museum, and ComCo, a company that makes microblasting tools, will show how they're used to blow dust and rocks off of fossils.

Laurel Robinson, Manager of Public Programs, tells LAist that there are multiple activities for both kids and adults, including an augmented reality experience where you will be able to use a device to see dinosaurs walking around the first floor of the North American Mammal Hall and a talk from paleontologist Jack Horner on the making of Jurassic Park. Horner was a technical advisor for all of the Jurassic Park movies and partially inspired Sam Neill's Dr. Alan Grant. Fans of the film may also be interested in a velociraptor prop from the movie that will be on display for viewing and photo ops. This particular prop is just one of several items from NHM's collection that is not typically available for public viewing, but will make an appearance at Dino Fest.

There will also be tours of the Dino Lab, the Dinosaur Institute Collection Room, and performances from NHM's dino puppets. The puppets, with are scaled to be the same size as actual dinosaurs would have been, were created in consultation with paleontologists at the museum. Jara also says that the museum will do a limited "behind-the-scenes tour to see the puppets and the mechanics [of the show]."

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Robinson says Dino Fest should become one of three annual family-friendly fests at the museum alongside their Bug Fair and L.A. Urban Nature Fest, which celebrates local biodiversity.

Experts include Dr. Luis Chiappe, NHM; Dr. Nathan Smith, NHM; Dr. Jack Horner, Museum of the Rockies and Montana State University; Dr. Bill Parker, Petrified Forest National Park; Dr. Diego Pol, and Dr. Michael Habib, NHM and USC, with whom we recently discussed NHM's pterosaur exhibit. A complete schedule of events is located here.

Dino Fest is located at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County at 900 Exposition Blvd. in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 24 and Sunday, September 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for students, $5 kids, and free for museum members and children 2 and under. More info and tickets are available here.