'Dinosaurs and Disasters' Feb. 5 at Morrill Hall

Released on 01/24/2011, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011

WHERE: University of Nebraska State Museum (Morrill Hall), south of 14th and Vine Streets [map]

Lincoln, Neb., January 24th, 2011 —
"Dinosaurs and Disasters" logo
"Dinosaurs and Disasters" Web poster

The University of Nebraska State Museum and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences will host the seventh-annual "Dinosaurs and Disasters" family fun day 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 5, at Morrill Hall, south of 14th and Vine streets on the UNL City Campus. This event is part of a year-long celebration of the museum's 140th anniversary.

"Dinosaurs and Disasters" provides a day of discovery and hands-on activities throughout the museum with more than 20 stations staffed by UNL scientists, and graduate and undergraduate students. This year's theme is "Earth, Wind, Fire and Water." Interactive games and activities will help visitors better understand planet Earth by exploring how its elements translate into natural disasters, extreme weather events, and climate change. If you're curious about how the world works, this event has it all.

Visitors will be able to explore the forces behind hail, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and other weather-related disasters, and learn all about clouds, tsunamis and geysers. A weather radar station will provide a real-time look at the atmosphere and allow visitors to interpret weather patterns. Visitors will also have the opportunity to give a weather report like TV meteorologists.

"Dinosaurs and Disasters" will also allow visitors to:

* Take a journey deep beneath Earth's surface and learn how volcanic hotspots are formed.
* Dig for fossils and observe fossil preparation by real paleontologists.
* Discover how birds in your own backyard are related to the dinosaurs of our prehistoric past.
* Investigate fossil poop and fossil vomit and find out why they help provide valuable clues about Earth's history.
* Create a raging river, climb a volcano, look into the eye of a 6-foot tornado, decode Antarctica's climate history, and learn what distinguishes a meteorite from a meteor.
* Investigate other topics such as extinction, diatoms and evolution in geologic time.

Visitors are also encouraged to bring rocks or fossils to the museum for scientists to identify.

On Feb. 5 only, Mueller Planetarium will present the National Geographic fulldome show "Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure." This visually immersive show includes photo-realistic animations that take audiences on a journey to the Late Cretaceous period. Explore the dangerous and mysterious ocean world of the past, where ancient creatures such as long-necked plesiosaurs, giant turtles, fierce sharks and the most dangerous sea monster of all, the mosasaur, lurked. Follow paleontologists as they unearth fossils that shed light on why these ancient creatures no longer exist. (40 minutes running time.) Show times are 11 a.m., noon, and 1, 2, and 3 p.m.

Mary Anne Holmes, co-organizer of the event and professor in the UNL Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, said she is proud of the event's success since it began in 2005 and is looking forward to another opportunity to share the wonders of earth science with museum visitors.

"Dinosaurs and Disasters Day is a chance for the UNL's Earth and Atmospheric Sciences faculty, staff, and students to give back to the community. We appreciate the support we get from Nebraskans, and we want to share our passion for our planet with them," said Holmes.

Established in 1871, the University of Nebraska State Museum is celebrating its 140th anniversary with public events and educational programming throughout the year. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday; 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays; and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults (19 and over), $3 for children (5-18 years, 4 and under are free), and $10 for families (up to two adults and children). UNL staff, faculty and students are admitted free with valid NU ID. There is an additional charge for planetarium shows. Planetarium tickets are sold at the museum's front gate the day of the show. Parking is free. For more information visit www.museum.unl.edu.

WRITER: Dana Ludvik, Public Relations Coordinator, NU State Museum, (402) 472-3779