Dinosaurs take spotlight at Portland Science Center

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PORTLAND — Millions of years ago, dinosaurs ruled the earth.

Now they rule Maine Wharf, in the latest exhibit at the Portland Science Center.

“Dinosaurs Unearthed” offers visitors a chance to see – and hear – prehistoric creatures come to life. This is the first time the exhibit, which opened Nov. 18, has come to New England.

The multimedia and interactive exhibit has 13 fully animatronic dinosaurs, ranging from a Tyrannosaurus rex and its juvenile, to a velociraptor and a triceratops. The exhibits are surrounded by indoor landscapes reflecting prehistoric locations. There are also two documentaries that can be viewed, along with fossils and full sized skeletons, and an exhibit by University of Southern Maine art professor Philip Carlo Patatore.

Joe Gold, president of Gold Group, which owns and operates the 68 Commercial St. space, said the decision to bring “Dinosaurs Unearthed” to Portland was the result of a survey of guests at the center’s first two exhibits. He said “Dinosaurs Unearthed” was “by far the most sought after exhibit.”

“The interest is off the charts,” he said.

The creators of the dinosaurs in the Canadian-based exhibit consult with paleontologists and do research to ensure the dinosaurs look accurate, Gold said. Several of the dinosaurs are feathered, since one leading paleontological theory is that dinosaurs are more closely related to birds than reptiles.

Gold said the exhibit will run until early spring. Tickets are $14.50 for children 12 years old or younger to $19.50 for anyone age 13 or up. Seniors, college students or those in the military can buy tickets for $17.50.

Gold said “Dinosaurs Unearthed” is a unique educational opportunity and a different way to experience a pivotal moment in time. Opportunities to learn about dinosaurs are “hard to come by,” he said, because there are very few paleontologists in Maine.

“There’s something for everyone in the family to see,” he said.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

The current exhibit at the Portland Science Center is “Dinosaurs Unearthed,” a multimedia presentation with life-size reproductions of dinosaurs, fossils and skeletons, along with an exhibit by a professor from the University of Southern Maine. 

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.