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Museums: The Franklin Institute’s World Premiere – “Giant Mysterious Dinosaurs” Exhibition


One of the world’s largest collections highlighting the biggest dinosaurs ever stampedes into The Franklin Institute this Saturday, December 10 in the world premiere exhibition Giant Mysterious Dinosaurs. 

This exclusive exhibition gets visitors up-close-and-personal with GIGANTIC dinosaurs, as long as 70 feet, excavated from such remote regions as Argentina and the Gobi Desert of Inner Mongolia. 

Giant Mysterious Dinosaurs will be in The Franklin Institute’s Mandell Center beginning Saturday, December 10, with special extended holiday hours December 26-January 1, 2012.  The exhibit runs through April 15, 2012, and was created by Don Lessem and ExhibitsRex and produced by Imagine Exhibitions, Inc.

Highlights include the world premiere of a cast skeleton of the never-before-displayed Mapusaurus, 65 million year-old dinosaur eggs, and the latest scientific evidence of how dinosaurs grew so large.  Dozens of exotic giant skeletons and intricate robotics reveal new discoveries of dinosaur origins and behavior, while casting light on the unfamiliar international ancestors of familiar North American dinosaurs. The exhibit gathers two dozen humongous skeletons, dinosaur recreations and full-sized robotics.  Visitors can also get hands-on by going on a dino dig and examining fossils and bone replicas in the interactive Dinosaur Cart, which will be staffed by museum science interpreters during daytime exhibit hours.

The spectacular collection belongs to the world’s leading dinosaur collector and popularizer, Don Lessem. "Dino" Don, a Philadelphia area resident, who has excavated and re-created dinosaurs from Argentina to Mongolia, including the world’s largest meat-eater and plant-eater.  He was advisor to the movie Jurassic Park, host and writer of NOVA and Discovery Channel documentaries, and has written more than 50 books for children. Mr. Lessem’s company, ExhibitsRex, Inc., designed and built the Giant Mysterious Dinosaurs exhibition.  As dinosaur editor for Highlights Magazine, Dino Don has answered more than 11, 000 letters from children.  Dino Don, who holds the largest private collection of dinosaurs in the world, lives in Media, PA surrounded by the actual dinosaur sculptures from the Jurassic Park movie.

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The exhibition highlights recent cutting-edge research that answers one of the bigger mysteries about large dinosaurs – how on earth did they get so big?  Turns out, the big plant-eaters required thousands of kilograms of food daily to survive – so they sped up the process by swallowing their meals whole.  If you thought you knew dinosaurs, Giant Mysterious Dinosaurs will open your eyes.  Nearly half of all dinosaurs known have been found in the last two decades – many from the farthest reaches of the globe. And along with these recent findings come new insights into how dinosaurs grew, behaved, communicated, and, after 163 million years of domination, came to a crashing end.

Meet Mapusaurus, the new king of the meat-eating dinosaurs and Mamenchisaurus, (MA-men-CHEE-sore-us) the longest-necked (and most pea-headed) animal that ever lived.  Get introduced to one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs – Giganotosaurus from Patagonia, 10% bigger than T. rex. See one of the world’s largest dinosaur bones – the five-foot high backbone of the 100-ton Argentinosaurus.  Puzzle over the unicorn spike on the school-bus sized duckbilled dinosaur Tsintaosaurus (TZINT-ow-SORE-us), the two-foot long spines of the bizarre Amargasaurus, and the world’s longest claw – nearly two feet long – from a still-unknown Mongolian giant meat-eater.  Many of these enormous dinosaurs have rarely been displayed in North America.


Also on December 10, The Franklin Institute’s Tuttleman 4.5 story-high IMAX Theater will premiere "Flying Monsters, " a new adventure film from award-winning Atlantic Productions, in association with Sky 3D, and distributed by National Geographic Entertainment. The film, which opens in conjunction with "Giant Mysterious Dinosaurs exhibition, " uses CGI technology to immerse audiences in a prehistoric world inhabited by pterosaurs, flying vertebrates with a wingspan of up to 45 feet that lived alongside dinosaurs. "Flying Monsters" was produced by filmmaker Anthony Geffen and narrated by veteran filmmaker and renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough.


Individual daytime tickets for Giant Mysterious Dinosaurs (which include general admission to the museum) are $25.00 for adults and $18.50 for children, with free admission for Franklin Institute Members. Tickets are timed and dated, and admission is 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday (last entry at 3:30 p.m.); and 9:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (last entry at 7 p.m.).  The evening ticket price ($10 adult; $6 children) does not include museum admission, and begins with the 5:00 p.m. exhibition admission.  Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended.  Information, holiday hours, and tickets (including discounted combination tickets with CSI:  The Experience) are available at             1-877-TFI-TIXS      ,  Groups of 15 or more save up to 20 percent on tickets with advanced reservations by calling             1-800-285-0684      .

About The Franklin Institute

Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning, as well as a dynamic center of activity. Pennsylvania’s most visited museum, it is dedicated to creating a passion for learning about science by offering access to hands-on science education. For more information, visit

All images kind courtesy The Franklin Institute

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