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Pavilion science center reveals new dinosaur exhibits

Laura Johnson
The Kirby Science Discovery Center features dinosaur exhibits that feature a replica of Stan the T-rex, an animatronic velociraptor and an interactive excavation pit.

The dinosaur exhibit is a big hit. Children race around the Kirby Science Discovery Center with their adult caretakers in tow.

The Washington Pavilion is installing exhibits in the dinosaur section with a $250,000 grant. Two interactive games teach kids where the dinosaur bones came from and why dinosaurs are extinct.

Hannah Wagner brought her daughters to the science center to escape the overcast day. She enjoys taking her children here because it incorporates learning with entertainment.

“Burning energy, exploring new toys and fun things to do,” Wagner said.

Wagner's daughter Harper likes to dig up the dinosaur fossils in an interactive excavation pit.

Brandon Hanson is director of museums. He says the science center added another fossil which is made out of recycled rubber material.

“They can move around with chip brushes, they can put a hard hat on, they can put a little paleontology vest on and really get down in there and figure out what it’s like to be a paleontologist,”  Hanson said.

One of the main challenges of coordinating the new elements of the exhibit for Hanson's team has been the national supply chain issue.

“So these are very specialized companies, and they need lots and lots of materials," Hanson said. They need time to fabricate, and they need time to work with us on what colors and what type of dinosaur we want it to be or look like so there’s a lot of planning and research.”   

Future exhibits will include life-size dinosaur statues and additional murals of the Pavilion’s mascot, Radley Rex, throughout science center. They will appear on display by June 1st to celebrate National Dinosaur Day.

Laura (she/her) is based at the Sioux Falls Studio. She is a journalism/anthropology student at Augustana University.