Dinosaurs at the Burke

You’re never too old to think ancient reptiles are totally awesome

It was the summer of 1993 when I learned Velociraptors can successfully negotiate door knobs as they hunt children through ill-conceived theme parks on remote islands. Jurassic Park scared me half to death the way summer blockbusters are supposed to—a thrill, but just a movie. The villains were as real as the aliens in Independence Day: good stuff for an air-conditioned theater, but totally fake—or were they? The difference between the faux otherworld attackers and the enormous, lumbering hunters is that the dinosaurs were loosely based on the real thing. I didn’t fully appreciate that until I moved to Chicago and saw Sue, a nearly complete T.rex that greets visitors to the Field Museum. I could fit, whole, into her mouth. And Sue once actually walked the earth. Today, the Burke Museum reminds us that before we were around with our cars and luxury condos and global warming, reptiles with feet big enough to crush grown men were the top o’ the food chain. In addition to bringing out some of the more impressive pieces from the Burke’s dino collection, paleontologists will assist in cracking open your own prehistoric chunk of shale. Find a fossil, take it home. There’s more kid stuff, dress up and art projects, but there’s nothing quite like the site of a 21-foot ichthyosaur fossil to make you take a step back and think a little about time, space and what it all means—it’s frickin’ awesome. Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, 17th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 45th Street, 543-5590, www.washington.edu/burkemuseum. $5-$8. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. LAURA ONSTOT

Sat., March 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 2008

 
comments powered by Disqus