We had a blast creating an epic dinosaur scene with 3D cookies. And we’re very lucky to have such supportive siblings who helped us bake the sugar cookies and decorate them with frosting (and of course, assemble the dinosaurs to make them come alive).
Are you into dinosaurs? Do you like creative journaling? Then you’re in luck! I Know Dino has just published a dinosaur creative journal, called Keep Your Dinosaurs Here.
Here’s the official description:
Are you a dinosaur enthusiast? Keep Your Dinosaurs Here is a full color creative journal designed to grow your creativity and engage your paleontological side. Let your inner child out and rediscover the dinosaurs you loved as a kid. Find inspiration to write, sketch, and reflect, while learning fun dinosaur facts. Featuring creative exercises, challenges, prompts, quotes, lists, and more, Keep Your Dinosaurs Here is the perfect gift for you and all the dinosaur enthusiasts in your life.
Because it’s a journal, it’s currently only available in paperback. We had a lot of fun writing and designing this journal, and we hope you get a lot out of it too. Remember, dinosaurs bring people together.
Purchase your copy of Keep Your Dinosaurs Here on Amazon.
We’re doing a joint giveaway with Taylor McCoy, from Everything Dinosaurs Weebly. Enter here!
Josh told us he’s doing an ink and watercolor version, emulating William Stout, one of his paleo-art heroes. This ink piece will be featured in an exhibit that opens today at the Treehouse Children’s Museum in Ogden, Utah alongside “Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice.” Josh is co-exhibiting with Michael Goodwin, a paleo-artist who has done some excellent work with airbrushing.
Taylor McCoy, founder of the website Everything Dinosaurs, shares his extensive knowledge on starting and having a fossil collection. Taylor has previously been a guest on the podcast (Juratyrant – Episode 8), as well as a guest writer. And he has an impressive, extensive fossil collection consisting of over 60 items, which he is continually adding to (in his last post he had closer to 40).
Hi, my name’s Taylor McCoy. I’m a big dinosaur enthusiast and the founder of the Weebly site Everything Dinosaurs. I’ve had the great opportunity of being featured on I Know Dino before and now I’m back with some tips on how you can start your own fossil collection. There are a number of ways you can get fossils for your collection. I’ll go through all the methods I’ve used and also how to display your pieces.
Collecting Your Fossils
One method you can try is literally going fossil hunting. A number of areas have spots devoted to public fossil collecting. A quick Google search could really be useful. For example, the Montour Fossil Pit in Pennsylvania isn’t far from me, so I made sure to take a trip there. I was only there for a few hours, but managed to find over a dozen fossils of prehistoric clams, crinoids, and possible corals. I even found a geode as well. When looking into places like this, it’s important to do some reading on the place. Try to find out as much as you can. If possible, it wouldn’t hurt to try and contact the location if you have any questions. Most public fossil locations aren’t super remote, so you don’t need a ton of supplies. A good rock hammer, fossil identification guide/book, something to carry your finds in safely, and a bottle of water depending on the weather is really all you need. Just remember not to clear out a site so that others may come along and make their own discoveries.
Another way to collect fossils is by purchasing them. There are two main ways you can do this, online or in person. When purchasing fossils online, it’s important to buy them from a reputable dealer. A certificate of authenticity isn’t a requirement, but certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing. I will include a few links to sites I’ve used before and trust. Ebay is also an option, though I’d advise you to be careful. If this is the route you choose to take, make sure the seller has a good reputation and good reviews. Purchasing fossils in person(at a store or museum for example) is less risky, but might be harder to do simply because there aren’t a ton of locations. Some areas like Utah and Colorado have many stores that sell fossils due to their high concentrations in those areas. Like many websites, make sure the store is one with a good reputation. Museums are a safe bet and many museum gift shops feature fossils. I’ve used both stores and museums and have always left satisfied.
An alternative to actual fossils is fossil replicas. Good quality replicas are cheaper, more readily available, and less fragile than real fossils. Replicas are a good alternative to dinosaur fossils since good dinosaur fossils are so rare. I myself have many fossil replicas in my collection. These can also be purchased online and often in museums as well. Below I will include a link to a site I highly recommend for good fossil replicas.
Displaying Your Collection
Now that you have a collection, how do you want to store/display your pieces? I suggest displaying pieces that are of high quality and beauty, while keeping those lower quality, smaller pieces in safe storage. I say this because you likely don’t have room to show off every piece, so you might have to pick and choose. Replicas make great display pieces due to their nice finish and completeness. When displaying your fossils, do so in a safe way. You don’t have to necessarily keep them behind bulletproof glass, but keeping them out of reach of children or pets isn’t a bad idea. Remember these aren’t toys, but rather pieces of history and art. A shelf a few feet off the ground makes for a good display area, so long as the fossils aren’t teetering on the edge. If their aren’t any young children or rambunctious pets in your house, then a tabletop or desk is fine too, just keep an eye on them.
If you must store any of your fossils, do so safely. Try to keep them in boxes with padding or something similar. Then, I’d recommend storing these safely in drawers. Fossils and fossil replicas hold up well overall, but make sure you try not to store them in overly hot or humid locations.
My Own Collection
My own personal collection consists of some sixty plus fossils ranging from seashells to dinosaurs, along with over a dozen replicas. It’s taken me over ten years to work on it and it’s still growing. All the pictures seen here are of my own fossils and replicas.
Take Your Time And Have Fun
Make sure you take your time when collecting fossils. Try to find pieces that are really unique. Above all else, have fun with it. Fossil collecting is a very fun and educational experience. It’s something everyone can get into. As long as you keep digging, you might be surprised at what you might be able to add to your collection.
Links To Suggested Sites
Dear fellow dinosaur enthusiasts,
We’re working on book 1 of an epic dinosaur series, called Dinosaur Wars, and we need your help with choosing a cover! When you get a chance, will you please vote at https://99designs.com/book-cover-design/contests/create-book-cover-epic-fantasy-series-about-dinosaurs-496075/poll/83szjc?utm_source=voting_app&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=voting?
They’re all really great and it’s hard to choose! Plus, it’d be awesome to get some feedback.
-The I Know Dino team
“In the summer of 1858, Victorian gentleman and fossil hobbyist William Parker Foulke was vacationing in Haddonfield, New Jersey, when he heard that twenty years previous, workers had found gigantic bones in a local marl pit. Foulke spent the the late summer and fall directing a crew of hired diggers shin deep in gray slime. Eventually he found the bones of an animal larger than an elephant with structural features of both a lizard and a bird.”
The site became “ground zero” for dinosaur paleontology, and it’s marked by a commemorative stone and a small park. Located at the end of a suburban street, it’s both hard and really cool to imagine that dinosaurs once roamed there. Kids always leave dinosaur toys on the picnic table next to the stone.
The hadrosaurus skeleton ended up at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. You can read more about it in our post, “Hadrosaurus foulkii at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.”
As far as large animatronic dinosaurs go, there are not a lot of options around. Back in 2007 the three-time Emmy Award winning BBC miniseries “Walking with Dinosaurs” launched an “Arena Spectacular” to bring dinosaurs to life. And more recently, in 2012, “Field Station: Dinosaurs” was opened as a theme park near Manhattan by a dinosaur enthusiast. But other than dinosaurs, the two have very little in common.
The Field Station is set up to resemble just that, a large field with lots of dinosaurs and dinosaur activities around for kids to enjoy. It’s typically categorized as a theme park, and it seemed effective at entertaining small children. But as an adult there is very little to do, the activities certainly don’t have much to offer, and the only other thing to do is to walk around and look at the dinosaurs. Which would be fine, but the dinosaurs leave a lot to be desired.
Most of the dinosaurs do appear well modelled and are laid out in a way where one never knows what to expect. But the Devil is in the detail. Possibly because the entire exhibit is outside, the dinosaurs move very little. Most of the movements can be described as head bobbing, tail wagging, or a jaw opening and closing but only ever one animation per dinosaur. But what really eliminates the sense of wonder is the terrible sound. There are many motion activated speakers around to bring the dinosaurs to life, but every speaker I heard was full of static. So at the end of the day there is a stationary dinosaur with one actuator moving back and forth to the soundtrack of static.
Walking with Dinosaurs, on the other hand, has fully articulated dinosaurs. They walk, eat, nuzzle, battle, and chase each other around an arena. And because it is staged in an arena the sounds are excellent. The dinosaurs come with a full narration pulled largely (sometimes verbatim) from the documentary, which brings the viewer deeper into the world. The mechanical achievement of the show is nothing short of amazing.
With kids, the Field Station could probably be an afternoon affair, but skipping the side-shows, you’ll be through in about 30 minutes. Walking with Dinosaurs is 80 minutes with a break in the middle. A ticket to the Field Station runs about $20 while Walking with Dinosaurs is about $60. So if you’re on a very tight budget the Field Station is a better choice, but you definitely get what you pay for.
The Field Station isn’t all bad, it’s comprised of 32 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs, while Walking with Dinosaurs was closer to half that number. And being able to walk much closer to them, especially when some are so large does give a certain sense of awe, but it is constantly limited by the poor animation and sound. If you have the opportunity, Walking with Dinosaurs is a must see. Field Station: Dinosaurs is a good choice if you’re in the NYC area and you have a young dinosaur enthusiast to entertain, but expect to be babysitting, not enjoying yourself.
|Walking With Dinosaurs||Field Station Dinosaurs|
For the non-fiction fans out there, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best documentaries about dinosaurs. There are a lot to choose from, but here are five to start:
- Dinosaur 13. A documentary by Todd Douglas Miller. The documentary chronicles the epic tale of Sue, a T-rex found near the Black Hills Institute in South Dakota. It involves love, protests, and federal prison, and reveals the deep passion of paleontologist Peter Larson. Highly recommend.
- The Ballad of Big Al. A BBC documentary that focuses on one particular Allosaurus, Al. Big Al is the name of a real Allosaurus fossil. The film follows Al’s birth until his death as a mature adolescent, from injuries.
- Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia. A film that goes back and forth between the work of Rodolfo Coria, who co-named Argentinosaurus and discovered Giganotosaurus, as well as other famous South American dinosaurs, and life in the early Cretaceous. Of course, it focuses on the lives of an Argentinosaurus and Giganotosaurus.
- How to Build a Dinosaur. Another BBC documentary, but this one goes over how paleontologists rebuild a dinosaur, including muscles and skin color, from a bunch of bones. Dr. Alice Roberts details the process on how dinosaur museum exhibits are created.
- When Dinosaurs Roamed America. The film goes through different segments of the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. It portrays the dinosaurs as quick and has good animation.
For more lists on recommended dinosaur documentaries, check out Jurassic World News and ViBlahBlah.
Have any others you’d like to share? Please tell us about it in the comments!
This week’s list we thought we’d recommend some family entertainment. Below are five of the best family-friendly movies and TV shows.
- The Land Before Time. A classic story that brings together dinosaurs from five different herds: a long-neck, a three-horn, a flyer, a spike tail, and a swimmer. They travel together to get to the promised Great Valley, in hopes of reuniting with their families. Careful, this one’s tear-jerker. But don’t bother with all the sequels and TV spin-off.
- Dinosaurs. Produced in part by Jim Henson Productions, this sitcom from the 1990s was about a family of five dinosaurs living in Pangea: Earl Sinclair, his wife Fran, and their kids Robbie, Charlene, and Baby. The show covered political and other topical issues, and it took multiple puppeteers to perform each dinosaur character.
- Dinotopia. A four-hour miniseries, this show depicted a utopia where dinosaurs and humans lived together. Basically, two brothers accidentally crash land on the island, and learn about this world. It’s pretty magical.
- Dinosaur. A live-action/animated Disney film, that is basically a remake of Land Before Time. There is an orphaned dinosaur, who joins a new clan, and must make it to a valley full of food to survive. The animation is pretty enjoyable.
- We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story. An animated film that kids will like. The story is told from the point of view of Rex, a T-rex who traveled to the future and ended up in modern day Manhattan. He and other dinosaurs are given a special food that increases their intelligence.
We’ve shared our favorites, now you share yours! What are some of your favorite family-friendly dinosaur movies?