Roarsome, jawsome, awesome! Tyrannosaurs opens in Edinburgh

Roarsome, jawsome, awesome! Yes, the dinosaurs have hit town! The National Museum of Scotland’s highly anticipated Tyrannosaurs exhibition opens tomorrow (Jan 23) but we were given a sneak preview of the display on its only European date.

Say the word tyrannosaur (you may as well, most of the other dinosaur names in this exhibition are much harder to pronounce) and you think of good old T rex. But one of the first things you learn from this exhibition is that there are many different types of tyrannosaur, some small, some feathery or fluffy – almost cute except for the teeth – of which T rex is just one, albeit a rather big one.

So there are several, different-sized dinosaur skeleton casts in this exhibition, including Scotty, a T Rex which towers over you and which was discovered in 1991 in Canada, along with lots of information boards, mostly in nice, easy-to-understand and relatively short chunks.

But as you’d expect from a modern world-class exhibition like this, there are lots and lots of interactive exhibits – my nine-year-old’s favourite was a large table with a touch-screen top where you hatched a range of tyrannosaurs, then used clues to match them to their name and family tree. Or you do if you are playing it in an educational way – once you hatch the dinosaurs, they run all over the table until you get them on the right name and if the big ones catch the small ones, they eat them. Guess what my son spent most of his time doing? I timed it – we were more than half an hour just at this bit. Luckily there were stools there at the preview, hope they keep them there.

There was also a “see how strong your squeeze is compared to a T Rex’s bite” game and a “jump on this spot and see if you can create enough force to send a meteor to earth and wipe out the dinosaurs” game. We spent quite a lot of time on the latter too. The screens which project you into the museum surrounded by dinosaurs were great fun, as were the corridor walls of AV tyrannosaurses wandering the streets of Edinburgh. In fact, I think we were far too busy having fun to take in an awful lot of the educational side – although the section about how scientists are piecing together the colours of the dinosaurs was fascinating.

My nine-year-old said: “I liked the interactive table. I was surprised how many fossils they had. I especially liked Scotty, because of his name mostly but I also liked him because he was a full dinosaur skeleton. When I watched a video about dinosaurs with feathers I didn’t know they were so colourful. I learned a lot.”

Altogether we spent almost two hours in the exhibition and only left then as I said we had to GO NOW. And we still had to do the camouflage fish and the wolves in the wild games on the fifth floor before we went – although that is the beauty of having this exhibition in the museum, as once you’ve done there, there is still more to see for free. Be warned, there is a fantastic dino souvenirs shop.

*Tyrannosaurs runs from Jan 23 to May 4 at the National Museum of Scotland. Ticketed: Members free; adults £12, over 60s £10, concs £9, child (5-15) £6, under-fives free; family (must include one adult and one child) of three £22, of four £29



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