Take a walk on the wild side

Upon completion of Union Terminal’s historic restoration this fall, the Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) reopened to the public on November 17th. Right off the bat, the Museum of Natural Science and History unveiled its much-anticipated Dinosaur Hall.


The 7,000-square-foot permanent exhibit brings five new dinosaur specimens to the gallery floor, along with special interactive features and an onsite Paleontology Lab.


Among the prehistoric creatures newly on display is the most intact Torvosaurus ever found. This 30-foot-long bipedal predator is comparable to the T-Rex, though much older. It was discovered in Colorado in 2013, with the help of Cincinnati native Jason Cooper, and its fossilized remains amount to a skeleton that is 55 percent complete.


Also making its debut at the Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) is the Galeamopus, a long-necked herbivore standing at 50 feet long. Discovered in Montana in 2000, the fossilized remains have since been excavated, cleaned, studied, and preserved.


The resulting specimen is an 85 percent complete skeleton, which, like the Torvosaurus, is the most intact specimen ever found. During Union Terminal’s restoration work, the reconstructed Galeamopus was unveiled to the public for the first time in the Rhinegeist Brewery taproom. Following this sneak peak, it can now be seen in its permanent home on the museum gallery floor.


Alongside the museum’s rare dinosaur specimens, Dino Hall visitors also have the opportunity to observe experts and scientists at work in the museum’s brand new Paleontology Lab.


With the American birthplace of paleontology just down the road in Bone Lick, Kentucky, as well as one of the most biodiverse natural areas of the region just 75 miles east at the 20,000-acre Edge of Appalachia Preserve, Cincinnati is uniquely positioned among natural science and history treasures of regional, national, and global importance.


The CMC, under the guidance of vertebrate paleontology curator Glenn Storrs, operates as an important center of vertebrate and paleontological research and education for the region. It houses the lower Ohio Valley’s largest vertebrate fossil collection, with approximately 30,000 specimens, and is on a mission to actively collect, preserve, research, and educate.

Dino Hall’s new Paleontology Lab is one way of pulling back the curtain and offering the public an exciting new behind-the-scenes peak into the research surrounding the museum’s fossil collection.


Last but not least, visitors have the opportunity to experience the prehistoric world through multi-sensory, interactive elements. You can take a virtual reality flight through the Late Jurassic period to experience the world of dinosaurs from the perspective of a bird; do your own exploring through video microscopes; or step back for some big-picture context with the help of an interactive globe that shows how the earth’s continents are thought to have shifted over time.


There is plenty to marvel at simply by standing at the foot of a prehistoric beast. But CMC’s Dinosaur Hall takes the experience a step further, allowing visitors to dig in, travel back, imagine, explore, and even witness the unfolding of real-time, on-site research.

Support for STEAM in the Museum is provided by Cincinnati Museum Center as it educates and inspires the leaders, builders and dreamers of this generation and the next.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Sarah Dupee.

Sarah Dupee is a freelance writer, teacher, translator, and musician with a background in French and Francophone Studies.