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Drive-thru dinosaur exhibit a hit with area residents

Drive-thru dinosaur exhibit a hit with area residents


Waynesboro children were introduced to prehistoric creatures Saturday afternoon.

Several families came out to the Virginia Museum of Natural History’s Drive-thru Dinosaur Experience at Constitution Park on Saturday in downtown Waynesboro to learn about the extinct species.

The drive-thru exhibit featured dinosaur fossils, dinosaur casts and specimens from the museum’s paleontology collections. Children were given dinosaur masks, a color-changing scratch dinosaur and dinosaur festival wristbands.

The Virginia Museum of Natural History, located in Martinsville, wanted a way to reach out to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We started out with a drive-thru reptile festival at the museum in Martinsville, and then we did our drive-thru dino festival since we haven’t been able to do our traditional festivals,” said Ben Williams, a science administrator in research and collections with VMNH. “They’ve proven really popular.”

Around 100 tickets were reserved for Saturday’s event. Admission was free, but a ticket was required to secure an hour-long time slot. Williams said all the tickets were reserved within a few hours.

“We basically load up the box truck, come out here and set up tents,” said Joe Keiper, executive director of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. “We already did the logistics, and the city was so supportive in approving our plan and allowing us to do this here.”

Attendees at Saturday’s Drive-thru Dinosaur Experience learned about different kinds of dinosaurs, including the tyrannosaurus rex, a stegosaurus and one lesser known species — the Appalachiosaurus.

“The Appalachiosaurus lived in what is today Alabama, south of here,” said Dr. Adam Pritchard, assistant curator of paleontology. “It was kind of like T-Rex, but it would have been a much smaller dinosaur.”

Another booth told more about the stegosaurus. Bobbie Dillion, a physical technician with VMNH, said the dinosaur was very humongous.

Dillion loves volunteering with the museum and helping with community events such as this one.

“It’s absolutely wonderful,” Dillion said. “It’s just an all-around good experience and a great way to learn something I didn’t know before."

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