The BIG DIG
Back by Popular Demand
The BIG DIG is a mammoth exhibit stretching over 6,000 square feet, filled with tons and tons of prehistoric fun!
Visitors will have a chance to excavate their way through piles of shale, from right here in Northwest Ohio, in search of fossils that they can take home. Learn how to carefully extract real pieces of Earth’s history, preserved and waiting to be found by you.
This sensory filled exhibition will have visitors of all ages challenging their knowledge of dinosaurs and prehistoric facts, reconstructing bones and fitting together missing pieces of those that roamed the earth so long ago.
With so many exciting opportunities to explore with your family, the BIG DIG is the place to bring the whole family for a fun-filled, educational trip down prehistoric lane.
About the exhibit
Imagination Station visitors can step back in time and become a paleontologist in The BIG DIG: Footprints to Fossils. We’re inviting visitors to uncover the fun while learning about the creatures that once roamed the earth.
In addition to a replica T. rex skull, lots of great prehistoric facts and several really fun photo opportunities, including a baby T. rex nest where kids can dress up like a baby dinosaur, we’ve got several interactive exhibits. We’ve also developed an Official Paleontologists Guide to help families and school children explore and learn together.
The Shale Dig
Over 375 million years ago, Northwest Ohio was a great sea teeming with life. What we know now as Ohio, was once located south of the Equator. As the North American Plate moved to its current position, tropical and subtropical seas repeatedly transgressed over the plate. It is because of these warm seas that Ohio has the abundant fossils that people collect today. When you sit down at the Shale Dig tables, you’re sure to uncover actual fossils to take home with you. It’s an awing experience to find physical pieces of history from millions of years ago, from even before the time of the dinosaurs. We’ve included fossil identification guides to help visitors determine what types of fossils they’ve discovered. Uncover trilobites, horn corals, brachiopods, pelecypods, bryozoans, gastropods, crinoids and pyrite.
The Dinosaur Maze
This interactive maze will test your dinosaur knowledge. How big were the first dinosaurs? Are dinosaurs really extinct? These are just a couple of the questions that will intrigue the visitors and help them find their way out of the maze. This fun, body-in interactive is informative and enjoyable for the whole family.
“Walking With Dinosaurs” Video Tent
This resting point will offer a dig site feel, but with a few comfortable chairs for viewing of the 6-part documentary series “Walking With Dinosaurs”. Using computer-generated imagery and animatronics, the producers recreated the life of the Mesozoic. The programs aimed to simulate the style of a nature documentary. We’ve added a new element to this exhibit in that visitors can put on dinosaur costumes and actually walk with the dinosaurs. Using chroma key (or green screen) technology, Imagination Station dinosaurs will appear to interact directly with the dinosaurs on the screen. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show, or done your favorite costume and become part of the show!
The Dinosaur Dig
Paleontologists record the location of bones (called grid mapping) because this can provide important information about the shape of the dinosaur and how it lived. The position of the bones in the ground helps paleontologists to determine what the dinosaur looked like when it was alive. In this experience, large dinosaur replica bones are buried and visitors are encouraged to jump right in and excavate them. We’ve provided a grid map in the Official Paleontologist’s Guide to help with mapping.
During the excavation of dinosaur remains, more often than not, parts of the skeleton are missing and must be reconstructed in order to best identify the type of dinosaur found and to determine its physical characteristics. In this exhibit, visitors are asked to reconstruct missing bones using silly putty to help fill in the missing parts of the remains.
Using a simple sheet of paper, a crayon and clever placement, visitors can create a fossil rubbing to take home with them. This creative and artistic exercise in capturing the beauty of these fossilized remains is a great souvenir of your visit to The BIG DIG, but it’s also a fun way for children to learn about science.
Giant Dinosaur Reconstruction
Visitors are asked to excavate the dinosaur bones and reconstruct the skeletons by placing the “bones” in the appropriate places. Think of it like a giant version of one of those small wooden puzzles that fit together with slots.
Baby Dino Nest
Grab a costume and become a dinosaur parent. We provide costumes for visitors both small and large, a dino nest and some eggs. The rest is up to your imagination. Dinosaurs displayed a variety of behaviors when nesting. Some dug shallow pits to hold their eggs, while others built a more complex nest. Some didn’t even use a nest. Some dinosaurs arranged their eggs in specific patterns, from arcs to straight lines to spirals. Some eggs were buried in mud and vegetation for protection, warmth and support. Now that you have the dino costume on, what will you do with your eggs?
We put the ROAR back in Dinosaur!