March 5–6, 2016


Every year, the Academy celebrates all things prehistoric during Paleopalooza, a two-day festival of fossils.  We offer new and exciting activities each year, along with our most popular and recurring attractions.

Free for members or with general museum admission. Not a member? Buy your tickets today.

Paleopalooza 2016 Activities

Auditorium Show: Rad Reptile Relatives: Dandy Dinos and Bodacious Birds
11 a.m. & 3:30 p.m.

Some of the most popular reptiles are (mostly) extinct—dinosaurs! Although reptiles such as Tyrannosaurus rex are gone, their legacy lives on in their modern relatives, birds. Learn about reptiles through the ages, and meet some live animals as you explore how birds are dinosaurs.

Auditorium Show: Dinosaur Wars
1 p.m.

Never mind the natural history – what you really want to know about dinosaurs is how well they could fight! Which was the strongest? Which was the smartest? Which had the best defense? Using the very latest facts from leading expert Dr. Phil Manning, find out if T. rex was really the king and which beast would win a big dino showdown.

Auditorium Show: Dinosaurs of the Bighorn Basin Dinosaur Project
2:30 p.m.

Join New Jersey State Museum Paleontologist Jason Schein for a wicked cool presentation on what it takes to dig up dinosaurs in the American West. Find out what we might have in store for the next few years of discovery.

Meet Our Mascot

Meet Academy mascot Eddie the T. rex as he tours the museum! Where will you find him?

Mesozoic Market

Stop by the Commons for educational displays, paleo book and fossil vendors, dinosaur tattoos, face painting, and more.

A Dynasty of Dinosaurs

Coloring has gone Cretaceous! The Academy’s own paleo-illustrator Jason Poole and New Jersey State Museum Paleontologist Jason Schein talk about their new coloring book A Dynasty of Dinosaurs. Try your hand at bringing a dinosaur to life through color!

Cretaceous Crafts

Make your own paleo-perfect crafts to take home.

Guided Tours of Dinosaur Hall
10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.

Meet under the T. rex for ultra-cool dinosaur tours. Bring your most pressing dino questions!

Fossil Prep Lab: Fossil Preparation

See a real duck-billed dinosaur fresh from the field as it is prepared by our technicians in the Fossil Prep Lab.

Dino Puppet Workshop

Use your imagination (and an old school overhead projector) to make dinosaurs move. Learn about dinosaur locomotion, make your own dinosaur shadow puppet and tell epic prehistoric stories.

Vertebrate Paleontology: Reptiles of the Deep

The Vertebrate Paleontology Department has dug deep into the collections. From the ancient depths, they've retrieved fossils of some of the most impressive and terrible creatures to ever terrorize the oceans of our world! There will be experts on hand to answer all your questions.

Invertebrate Paleontology: Cretaceous Calamari

Cephalopods are invading Paleopalooza! Come see beautiful and astounding fossils of incredible invertebrates from our Invertebrate Paleontology collections.

The Big, the Bad, and the Really Big

The biggest of the dinosaurs hold a huge place in our hearts as we celebrate all things sauropod. Help us welcome back brontosaurus, talk all things titanosaurs, and greet these prehistoric giants!

Closer Look: Spineless Survivors

Meet some live animals that have been around since the time of the dinosaurs, and learn more about the wonderful ways they survive today.

Reimagining Haddy

Visit our Drawn to Dinosaurs exhibit and see Ann Arbor artist and illustrator David Zinn bring Hadrosaurus foulkii back to life right before your eyes. See what it takes to flesh out a life-sized dinosaur using only chalk and charcoal.

Fossil Club

Peruse the Delaware Valley Paleontological Society’s fossil tables and exhibits, featuring interactive displays, a touch table, and world-class fossil collections.

Closer Look: Reptiles
10 a.m.-12 p.m.; 1-3 p.m.

Meet some of the live reptiles that call the Academy home and learn about these rad relatives of the dinosaurs.

Bird Brains

How clever were velociraptors, really? Meet live birds and figure out how bird (and dinosaur) brains work. Learn about avian problem solving and try to beat a bird’s best time on some puzzles.

Technology and Titanosaurs

Studying the past has never been more exciting. Modern technologies such as 3D scanning and printing of fossils helps us visualize how extinct species such as the titanosaurs Dreadnoughtus schrani lived in their environments. Join Academy staff and Drexel students to scan and manipulate 3D computer images of dinosaurs, view Dreadnoughtus in virtual reality, and print fossils on a Makerbot Mini 3D printer. Four lucky visitors will get to take home a 3D printed fossil over the weekend!

Story Time
10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Join us in Outside In for an interactive story time featuring a dinosaur tale and live animal.

The Fossil Hunt

Have sharp eyes? Search for real fossils to take home. Take a closer look at specimens that prove that dinosaurs don’t have the monopoly on cool fossils.

Special Exhibit Gallery
Tarantulas: Alive and Up Close

Tarantulas have a reputation that precedes them—terrifying, fast, hairy, scary—the biggest, baddest, and most fearsome of all spiders. In the Academy’s newest hands-on exhibit, you will come face-to-face with a stunning array of live tarantulas—fangs and all. Get the facts on why tarantulas are so hairy as you venture through an air current that simulates the sensitivities of a hairy spider. Explore a tarantula burrow and get your picture taken with these live eight-legged beasts!
$5; $3 for members; Family Plus level members and above see it free!

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