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Re: Dinofest Recollections

I was not as impressed. Of course, my reasons for going are probably different 
than most everybody else's (I was looking for educational materials on 
paleontology). The skeletons were amazing, the casted skulls were faboo!, and 
the robotic animals are showing some evolution. I also filled up several rolls 
of film.

However, I was disappointed that there were not more representatives of the 
various museums and institutions there to talk to, and very little in the way 
of informational handouts. I had specifically gotten my museum's permission to 
go by selling them on the idea that I and my partner were going to pick up 
ideas about how to get our teenage volunteers to interact with our guests using 
an exhibit that doesn't move. And, while we did get some information, we did 
not get nearly the amount of info that I had hoped we would.

As a visual spectacle, I have never seen its equal. As an educational tool, I 
was entering with the wrong ideas - perhaps because this was my first Dinofest. 
As disappointed as I was, I will return - hey, I may not have gotten the 
educational materials I wanted, but I got to see a large numbers of specimens 
that I had never had a chance to see before!

Overall, I think it deserves a lot of attention.

Brent : )

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>>> "Steve  Brusatte" <dinoland@lycos.com> 12/26/00 10:30PM >>>
Hope you all had a nice holiday.  It seems that the Sci. American book was a 
popular gift this year, and I guess it's fitting that I got it, too.

Anyway, I was able to go to Dinofest today, and since I haven't seen a really 
large writeup of it on the list yet, I'll do my best to give some of the 

First, we all keep hearing how it is scaled down because of the legal problems 
with the storage.  Well, if it's scaled down, then I'm scared to see what 
scaled up is.  The exhibit was huge, and was much more diverse that I 
originally thought.  I was very pleased to see a plethora of Permian 
mammal-like reptiles, Mesozoic marine reptiles, mammoths and other Quarternary 
animals, and even a bunch of the ubiquitous invertebrate marine fossils found 
here in Illinois.  

However, I was disappointed with the lack of feathered dinosaurs.  My favorite 
exhibit was Stephen Czerkas' set of three feathered Deinonychus individuals.  
They were beautifully done, and, in my opinion, the single best piece of art in 
the entire exhibit hall.  But, that was pretty much it for the feathered guys.  
There were about ten specimens of Confuciusornis...mostly _sanctus_, but one 
_dui_.  There was one model of Sinosauropteryx, I believe, and a few photos of 

I think that an exhibit like this would have been a perfect place to introduce 
the young dinosaur fans to the idea of feathered dinosaurs.  Even though it was 
the day after Christmas, there were probably at least 500 kids in the room at 
any given time...likely more.  Most of them probably have no idea about 
feathers on dinos.  

That was about it with the disappointment, though.  There were probably about 
30 dinosaur skeletons (mostly all cast).  Among others, Seismosaurus, 
Camarasaurus, Jobaria, Afrovenator, Tyrannosaurus, Saurophaganax, Allosaurus, 
Torosaurus, Triceratops, Montanaceratops, Edmontosaurus, Maiasaura, 
Psittacosaurus, Thescelosaurus and Coelurus were all represented with a 

There were even more skulls, with a variety of Pachycephalosaurus, Carnotaurus, 
Parasaurolophus, Eoraptor, Herrerasaurus, Avaceratops, Einiosaurus, 
Marshosaurus, Edmontosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, 
Dilophosaurus, and Monolophosaurus skulls around.  

Then there were the robots, with Dilophosaurus (spitting, by the way :-((), 
Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, Utahraptor, Camarasaurus, Allosaurus, Stegosaurus, 
and Titanosaurus all moving their robotic heads and tails.  

Of course, there was a variety of marine reptile material, with Elasmosaurus, 
Pleisosaurus, Tylosaurus, Mosasaurus, and Platecarpus among the many.  Along 
with these were the skeletons and skulls of other sea-going animals, including 
Hesperornis and a few giant turtles and mammals.  

There was a large exhibit on mammoths and their relatives, including 
titanotheres and rhinos.  Along with these were material from cave bears, saber 
tooth tigers, and whales.  

Sereno's African Giants exhibit was there, along with a nice Maryland dinosaur 
exhibit (with Astrodon material).  The ceratopsian exhibit was among the best, 
with cast skulls or skeletons from at least eight different ceratopsians, 
including Tyrannosaurus, Montanaceratops, Einiosaurus, and Avaceratops, 

There were also many sauropods, among them Camarasaurus, Jobaria, Apatosaurus, 
and of course, the largest mounted dinosaur skeleton-the humongous cast of 

Along with these, there was a very nice exhibit on dinosaur eggs, with examples 
from sauropods and theropods exhibited.  These were accompanied by photos from 
National Geographic, models of eggs, and a nice Oviraptor skeleton.  

The Carnegie Museum, Sternberg Museum, Illinois State Geological Survey, U.S. 
Geological Survey, Triebold Paleontology, Western Paleo Labs, Project 
Exploration, and a nice Chinese museum (whose name I have forgotten) all had 

The food was good, too, mostly Chicago style hot dogs and that nice deep dish 
pizza.  Of course, there was anything else you could imagine down in the Navy 
Pier food court.  And, even though it was hovering around zero degrees, 
snowing, and the wind was blowing, the famous Ferris Wheel was still in 
operation.  Oddly enough, nobody was riding...

Those were the highlights of Dinofest.  I was sad to see the absence of the art 
show and the symposium, and am still waiting for the Dinofest 1998 Volume.  
But, for being a scaled down exhibit, Dinofest Chicago was amazing.  I have 
eight rolls of film full of photos, which means that my website should be 
overflowing with Dinofest photos soon...

I was also introduced to John Lanzendorf, and was able to view his collection 
after leaving Navy Pier.  He is a great asset to the field, and we certainly 
need more people like him.  

It was a nice day, and I recommend a visit for anybody in the Chicagoland area. 

I am also interested to hear the opinions of others who have gone.  

Happy New Year,

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