If you have a budding paleontologist in your family, here is a great year-end school holidays to-do activity: Head down to the Science Centre Singapore and watch plenty of Dinosaurs and Ice Age Mammals roam its premise from now until 23 February 2014.
Titans of the Past features two international travelling dinosaur exhibitions, "The Growth and Behaviour of Dinosaurs" which is co-produced by the Museum of the Rockies, US Montana and Kokoro Co., Ltd Japan, and "Ice Age, The Exhibition" from Aurea Exhibitions, Argentina.
The first segment of the exhibition features the work of Dr Jack Horner, one of the world’s leading palaeontologists and consultant for the famed Jurassic Park films, and his research team. What set this exhibition apart from the rest of the other Dinosaurs exhibitions that we have visited is that it is the first exhibition in the world to explore the concept of ontogeny - the development of an animal through its life and its implications for the science of paleontology.
So while kids and families will be able to view real fossils really up close, there is a different take to the exhibition that is highly intriguing.
Dr Jack Horner and his research team had discovered that more than one-third of all dinosaur species from the Cretaceous Period may actually have been juveniles and not different species as mistakenly determined by paleontologists for the past century. Just like this collection of Triceratops skulls - from Grandparent to Baby stages.
I have to say this was one of the many portions of the exhibition that greatly captivated both Ash and Ayd. For once, they were not just looking at the main exhibits but also reading the information panels that came with it!
For the younger kids like Ale though, there was also a mini-theatre to explain the concept of the exhibit which even came complete with cute baby Triceratops.
Oh, and there is also activity trail booklets to be picked up too which come in 2 versions - one for primary school-going children and up while the other is for children below 7 years of age.
Besides fossils, there were plenty of Dinosaur animatronics to keep any dinosaur-loving kid fascinated as well.
And with kids being notorious for their itchy fingers, rest assured there are plenty interactive hands-on stations for them to work their fingers on as well... like this booth where they learnt how different dinosaurs sounded at various stages of their life.
The biggie of the first segment of the Titans of the Past exhibition has got to be the one that involved Ash's fave dinosaur of all time - the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
This particular section showcased the largest T-Rex skull ever found. And yes, it is a REAL fossil and valued at more than US$1.5 million at that.
What's a T-Rex without some chomping action as well?
There were quite a handful of T-Rex animatronics which told the story of how the T-Rex hunt for its prey and I half-expected Ale to be terrified of all these sights and sounds. Surprisingly enough, she didn't cover her eyes throughout this exhibition. In fact, she was much more horrified and traumatized by the Mega Bugs exhibition a few months back!
We even got to see some actual teeth puncture marks made by a T-Rex on a fossil of its prey.
The second segment of the exhibition features life-sized dinosaur skeletal casts of the Argentinosaurus - the largest Sauropod ever found - which measures a majestic 36m in length and 7m in height and a Giganotosaurus, one fo the largest terrestrial carnivores in the late Cretaceous period.
And it was here where we spent the longest time too, all thanks to the large sand pit where children got to put their hands to work and find some dinosaur bones of their own.
Besides being able to make one's own dinosaur hat, there are plenty of other interactive exhibits in this segment too.
The final segment brought us to the era of Ice Age where mammoths and sabre-tooth tigers once roamed the earth's surface.
Featuring 10 animatronics Ice Age animals in scenes depicting their habitats, the monkies learnt how they lived during that period and how they compare to their current counterparts. Definitely an eye-opener for them.
I thought the Titans of the Past exhibition was a very refreshing change to the conventional Dinosaurs exhibition where either giant fossils or animatronics would be the main stars. For this exhibition, there is a central theme which is to show how dinosaurs were in many ways similar to humans. In fact, based on the research conducted by Dr Jack Horner and his team, they found that dinosaurs grew very differently from other reptiles and showed a strong resemblance to human growth and behavior.
Now that explains why my monkies display certain prehistoric traits from time to time then.
Titans of the Past - Dinosaurs and Ice Age Mammals
Dates: 25 October 2013 - 23 February 2014
Time: 10am - 6pm daily
Venue: Annexe, Science Centre Singapore
Admission Fees: Adult $20 | Child (3-12 yrs) $16 | Family Package (2A&2C) $68
*Other packages with entry to Science Centre Singapore available as well. Check website link below.
Typical time required: 1.5 to 2 hours