Dinosaurs in Santa Barbara

By Lynda Millner   |   April 8, 2021
Dinosaurs on display at the Museum of Natural History

Those things that go “bump” in the night! They could be caused by five dinosaurs that now reside at the Museum of Natural History, permanently, along with some babies. After the summer of 2019 when the electronic dinosaurs visited and were then shipped onto the next place, the kids have been asking for them. One plea came from a two-and-a-half-year-old named Rosie saying, “Dinosaurs, come back!”

Director of Exhibits & Education Frank Hein, M.S. and President & CEO Luke J. Swetland felt the same and negotiations started. The dinosaurs returned in January, 2021 and so began the tedious process of installation of the heavy animatronics. They move and roar all day long in the woods behind the museum across Mission Creek. They are amazingly real looking. I heard that Walt Disney always said that kids like to be scared. Big kids too, maybe.

The new occupants are a Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Parasaurolophus, and Euoplocephalus. Besides fun memories there are plaques created by experts Jonathan Hoffman, Ph.D. and paleobiologist Jenna. J Rolle, M.S. so the kids learn that paleontology is a dynamic field with constant researchers updating their findings. There’s ongoing speculation whether T. rex ever had feathers throughout his life or only as a baby.

More scary creatures at the Museum of Natural History
The dinosaurs roar and move

Temporarily, the museum has another exhibit: “Dinorama: Miniatures Through the Mesozoic” in the Sprague Pavilion which runs through April 25. Dinorama is a curated landscape of mini dioramas populated by painted and posed figurines of ancient creatures. These small reptiles are especially good for very young visitors. The exhibit shows their evolutionary paths. 

If you haven’t been to the Natural History Museum lately, now’s the time. Lions, and tigers and bears, oh, my! No, just a few dinosaurs. Enjoy the prehistoric forest.


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