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[AnmlPeople@aol.com: Where I've been]
I've recently returned from my field trip helping Ken Carpenter and
his crew survey Garden Park near Canon City, Colorado. I'll try to
get around to writing about that soon (mostly to spill some dirt about
Jerry Harris) (not really, I just wanted to frighten him ;-). For the
moment I need to take care of some things that built up in my absence.
The following is part of a message sent to me by Merritt Clifton (of
Animal People fame). He wrote to tell me that he's been very busy
but wanted to pass on some impressions he had of some recent visits to
various dinosaur-related places:
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 1995 07:01:12 -0400
Subject: Where I've been
Meanwhile, for what it's worth, capsule assessments of the major &
minor dinosaur sites we've visited:
* Dinosaur National Monument is not nearly as fascinating for small
children as I'd anticipated. Wolf, just short of five, was through with it
in half an hour. I spent about an hour there myself.
* The private dinosaur museum near Medicine Bow (a small cabin made
from fossils) is closed due to the illness of the owner.
* The town museum in Rock River is closed more often than it's open,
but is quite good for a facility with zero resources.
* The University of Wyoming dinosaur museum in Laramie is a
must-visit. Wolf spent more than two hours there, and could probably have
spent another hour. He kept making the circuit of the downstairs and then
the upstairs, first just looking, then asking for explanations, then
asking questions, and then, on his fourth circuit, lecturing adult
visitors (quite accurately) about what they were seeing. A woman who was
apparently a museum staffer just stood back and let him go at it, evidently
quite amused and impressed. (She seemed to relate better to him than to the
other adults, actually--seemed a bit shy with me.)
* The Rock Springs skeleton mounts are another must. They kept Wolf
occupied for an hour. There are not all that many of them, but he was
particularly fascinated with the pleisiosaur, and spent quite a while with
the triceratops, stegosaurus, duckbill, and t-rex, too.
* Wolf's favorite of all the dinosaur museums was the one at Montana
State University in Bozeman (the only one to charge admission). He much
enjoyed the lifesized exhibit of maisaura mothers with their nests, and then
discovered the animated triceratops with her babies. With no adults anywhere
near to expalin (I was observing from a distance, and we were almost the
only people in the museum), he crept up carefully, figured out that they
were only animations, started to touch them, then backed away, started
again, etcetra, just as he does when becoming aquainted with a new living
animal. I finally walked up to explain that he wasn't supposed to touch the
exhibits, feeling like a killjoy. After we'd looked at everything else,
Wolf came back to the animations and watched them for the longest time,
until we got kicked out because the place was closing for the night.
Feel free to post the above observations if you think they'll be of
use to anyone. Meanwhile, I must put my nose back to the grindstone.
Absent but not disinterested,
Merritt Clifton, editor, ANIMAL PEOPLE.