Dinosaurs have always been a hit with our boys. One of the longest-lasting toys we have at home is a set of dinosaurs figurines. We’ve had those figurines ever since our eldest was a toddler, and they have been played with over the years by all our three children, including our little girl.
So, we were glad to receive an invitation to attend the media preview of the latest exhibition at the Singapore Science Centre last week, “Titans of the Past – Dinosaurs and Ice Age Mammals”.
If you google the name of this exhibition, you’ll be able to find many blog reviews about it by now.
So, what I will share here instead, will be our experience at the exhibition that night, coupled with some thoughts from the point of view of our three kids – an 8-year-old (Primary schooler), a 5-year-old who is turning 6 this month (Kindergartener) and a 2-year-old turning 3 this December (Preschooler).
In the next few posts, I will also share some activities about dinosaurs that we have done at home.
Titans of the Past features two international travelling dinosaur exhibitions, “The Growth and Behaviour of Dinosaurs” co-produced by USA and Japan, and “Ice Age, The Exhibition” from Argentina.
Exhibition 1: The Growth and Behaviour of Dinosaurs
“The Growth and Behaviour of Dinosaurs” was developed by world renowned palaeontologist, Dr Jack Horner, who is well-known for his dinosaur growth research. He is also the technical advisor for the famous Jurassic Park movies.
One of the most interesting sections of this exhibition was the collection of Triceratops specimens, featuring Triceratops skulls from the baby to the grandparents stage. Our boys were very captivated and interested in this, partly because we have read and learnt about the Triceratops from books and the activities we have done at home when they were younger. In fact, besides the T-Rex, the Triceratops is our boys’ favourite dinosaur.
At the sight of this amazing collection of Triceratops skulls, our boys started firing us with their questions. I was glad that there was information provided on the display panel, so that we were able to explain and answer some of their questions. We also encouraged the boys to read the information themselves.
Our 5-year-old was very intrigued by the size of the baby Triceratops’ skull. He was surprised that it was so small! I think this exhibition featuring the growth of dinosaurs is a very unique and refreshing experience for them, because they get to see the different stages of a dinosaur’s life through real fossils and specimens.
There was also a small theatre showing an animation on the growth of the Triceratops.
Our kids were glued to the screen the entire 10 minutes or so, and enjoyed watching the animation. Our 2-year-old was more curious about the two moving baby Triceratops animatronics in front of the screen. She even asked innocently if she could feed them! That was how real they were to the little kids.
The exhibition also features life-sized animatronics from Kokoro in Japan. These animatronics looked so real (at least to the kids) that our kids kept asking us if they were real dinosaurs!
Real fossils and good quality replicas could be found on display at the exhibition.
We spent a considerable amount of time looking at the displays of our boys’ favourite dinosaur, the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Our kids were attracted to this exhibit of a T-Rex biting into a huge piece of bone, that produced a loud crunching sound. They stood there watching for a long time, feeling both fascinated and scared at the same time!
This is also the section where you can view the real fossil of the largest T-Rex skull ever found, measuring 1.42m by 0.81m by 1.04m.
As with the other exhibits, there are information panels for visitors to read about the dinosaurs and the fossils in display. We encouraged our boys to read the information themselves and asked us if they have any questions. We would also read the information and try to highlight the interesting points to them.
Our 5-year-old was reading this information panel about fossils and became very interested in how fossils were formed. He started asking us lots of questions, which honestly, I wasn’t able to provide the answers. That means this will most probably be a great topic for our homelearning!
There were other life-sized dinosaurs casts on display, such as that of an Argentinosaurus and the Giganotosaurus. The sheer size of these dinosaurs skeleton was awe-inspiring. You’ve got to see them for yourselves.
Other interesting parts of this exhibition include a comparison of a dinosaur brain with that of a chicken, an experience at digging fossils, screening of documentaries on dinosaurs, and other interactive exhibits.
For our 2-year-old, she did not really understand most of the exhibition, but what made it interesting for her were the interactive exhibits (where she could press some buttons and see what would happen!) and the hands-on workshop, such as making a dinosaur head gear.
I think it is very thoughtful of them to include these hands-on activities to engage the younger children.
Exhibition 2: Ice Age Mammals
This part of the exhibition features 10 animatronics ice age mammals. When we stepped into this section of the hall, it was as if we were being transported to another world.
These exhibits also came equipped with information panels so that visitors can read and learn more about these ice age mammals.
This second part of the exhibition is small compared to the first. It would be wonderful if there were a little more exhibits, screening of documentaries or activities for children in this section as well. But I guess the atmosphere, backdrop and lighting of this part of the exhibition somehow make up for the lack of activities.
All in all, we enjoyed this exhibition. Our kids have already asked if we could bring them there again!
My Thoughts on the Exhibition
So, is this an exhibition worth going to?
Is this suitable for kids?
I think this is an excellent exhibition for children who are interested in dinosaurs. It is definitely great for Primary school children and above. Kindergarteners who are interested in dinosaurs would also enjoy it, although they might need someone to answer their questions or highlight and explain the interesting parts of the exhibitions to them. Toddlers and Preschoolers would not really understand much about the exhibition, but they might be captivated by the life-size display of fossils, casts and animatronics. They should also enjoy the hands-on activities more.
Personally, I feel that it would be a more fruitful trip if the children have some prior knowledge of dinosaurs before going for this exhibition. Parents could read some books on dinosaurs to their kids to arouse their interest before bringing them for the exhibition.
The exhibition will be here from now till 23 February 2014. So, there’s plenty of time to get your children interested in dinosaurs before bringing them for the exhibition! This could be a great school holiday activity and outing.
Exhibition Packages and Visitors Information can be found here.
In the next few posts, I will be sharing some of the simple activities we’ve done at home on dinosaurs.
Have a wonderful time exploring and learning about these titans of the past with your kids!
Disclosure: We were invited to the media preview of this exhibition. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own.