Ancient, modern worlds meet in robotic T. rex

Replica of monster on display at Dinosaur Journey all summer

A full-sized robotic replica of a Tyrannosaurus rex is shown at Museum of Western Colorado’s Dinosaur Journey in this contributed photo. The replica of the gigantic carnivore of the Cretaceous period will be on display at the museum between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The approaching tourism season looks to be the Summer of Tyrannosaurus rex in the Grand Valley.

The towering king of the Cretaceous period, T. rex was more than 70 times the size of any other carnivore in the last of the ages of the dinosaurs and has captured imaginations 65 million years removed from the time that he stalked the earth.

This summer, T. rex — well, not the real T. rex, but an incredible, full-sized, robotic simulation — will glower down at visitors to the Museum of Western Colorado’s Dinosaur Journey in Fruita during the height of the travel season. It will take two days to set up the animal in the museum, where Tyrannosaurus rex will hold court between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Dinosaur Journey is hoping the cachet of the carnivore will attract dinosaur fans from around the region and attract people passing through on Interstate 70.

“Every kid is going to want to see that monster,” said Mike Perry, executive director of the Museum of Western Colorado. “It’s the monster of the ages.”

The monster of the ages fell into the hands of the museum as a result of a long-standing relationship between Perry and Wonderworks Exhibit Co. of Abilene, Texas, which made the T. rex and sought out Dinosaur Journey as a venue in which to put it on display.

An apatosaurus is being moved from the display area at Dinosaur Journey to clear room for the T. rex, which stretches nearly 50 feet from gaping jaw to the tip of his tail — about the size of the full-grown beast.

Though the robotic creature can rear up to 20 feet, he won’t, because his head would crash up against the ceiling.

In those surroundings, T. rex will seem even larger than he would normally, Perry said.

Wonderworks consulted with paleontologists around the world to present T. rex as accurately as current science can, owner Jack Hull said in a statement.

In addition to the main attraction, the display will include a robotic juvenile tyrannosaurus so people can get a sense of the creatures’ size and development, Perry said.

In addition to the full-sized T. rex, the display will include bone from the museum collection, including leg and hip bones, teeth and claws.

The T. rex will also provide the theme for this summer’s Dinosaur Days in Fruita, Perry said.


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