Titans of the Past — Dinosaur Exhibition at Science Centre

When I first spotted the advertisement on the ‘Titans of the Past’ exhibition on the newspapers at the beginning of the week, I immediately know it will be a must-go event for us, with Dar’s recent interests in dinosaurs (his favourite is Diplodocus, a long neck plant-eating sauropod).

So on Saturday morning, one day after the exhibition began, we made our way towards Science Centre by alighting at Jurong East MRT and taking a 10-minute walk there. As we were nearing there, we started to see posters of the exhibition.

20131026_TitansofthePastexhibition01

At the lobby area, the Apatosaurus and Tyrannosaurus model replicas were on display. This got us excited and we started taking shots with them.

20131026_TitansofthePastexhibition02

There were lesser people than we had expected, probably because the crowd would only start to arrive in the afternoon. People also may choose to come during the year-end school holidays since the exhibition will be open till February 2014.

We bought our tickets using my SAFRA Card for a 10% discount and without hassle. Upon entering the Science Centre, Dar was immediately mesmerized by the large display with balls running down the various tracks and making nice sounds. We also checked out the displays at the Optical Illusion area and had fun with them. We were glad that Dar was a lot more interested and receptive to the various exhibits compared to our previous visits as he was now at the right age to appreciate them.

20131026_ScienceCentre01

We then headed straight to the ‘Titans of the Past’ exhibition at the Annex area to beat the afternoon crowd. Indeed, the exhibition area was pretty sparse of people so we could explore the displays without disruption, and photo-taking was a breeze with minimal ‘walking human beings’ in the background. ^^|

The gallery began with a walk-through of dinosaur facts. We had been reading dinosaur non-fiction books with Dar since August so it was like a recap with a bit more information. They should have place the information boards at the height of a child though because Dar almost missed it with the dim light and we had to carry him to read.

20131026_TitansofthePastexhibition03

The first dinosaur we came across was Triceratops, the famous plant-eater with three horns on its face plates. Both the real fossils and re-modeled casts were on display. What we found interesting was the comparison of their skulls at different stages of their lives, ranging from babyhood to old age.

20131026_TitansofthePastexhibition04

1. Theatre with show |2. Real fossil | 3. Replicas models

There was also a staff around to explain the evolution of their skulls and horns according to their age, and Dar was very responsive to his explanations and questions too. The staff, who was knowledgeable himself, was surprised when Dar could answer his questions, such as how Triceratops’s name had come about. Dar replied to him, “Tri means three horns.” We were glad Dar had remembered what he had read from the fact books and the things we had told him and applying them when necessary.

Moving on, there was a show featuring the Triceratops with realistic and moveable models of their children who acts as the ‘hosts’. We were impressed with how much robotics have evolved to make these dinosaur models move so realistically.

After the show, we came across a mother Triceratops who was fiercely protecting her child. Dar was worried she might attack him so he quickly moved behind us despite our reassurances. This was how realistic the models were.

20131026_TitansofthePastexhibition05

At the side of this area was a table and some benches, where children were suppose to complete a quiz form they had received together with the admission tickets. Unfortunately, there was no sign indicating the purpose of the area so we had to walk back here from near the exit of the exhibition after we asked a staff where we should complete the quiz. Anyway, Dar had fun stamping the dinosaur rubber stamps on the paper and wrote out the answers. He wrote the names himself and we didn’t correct his spelling. The paper will be submitted for a draw.

20131026_TitansofthePastexhibition06

Along the passageways of the exhibition, there were a few more activity areas and we managed to find some interesting stuff like dinosaur pictures for coloring which we could bring home. There was also an area for children to role play as paleontologists brushing sand off a newfound fossil near the end of the exhibition area.

20131026_TitansofthePastexhibition07

The next exhibits that interest us were those of the Tyrannosaurus, with an impressive fossil as the opening exhibit. This was our first time getting close to such a huge fossil since we had not visited dinosaur exhibition prior to this (the only few dinosaur exhibits we saw was at Salzburg, Austria) If not because of Dar’s interests in them which sparked our own interests in them, we would probably have missed out on this exhibition too. That is why we always feel that Dar has opened our eyes to many things and we have learnt as much from him as he has learnt from us.

20131026_TitansofthePastexhibition08

Anyway, we only realised that flash photography was not allowed (not sure if it’s only at that particular exhibits or for the entire exhibition, as we had not come across any signs prohibiting it) after a staff intervened while we were taking photos. If that was the case, signs should be prominently displayed to indicate so. Anyway, we understand that the flash light could degrade fossil samples so we obeyed the rule when photographing fossils.

Tyrannosaurus continued to take the limelight as we moved on, with more realistic robotic models of them, the most impressive being the life-sized model which would growl fiercely at its prey (a poor dismembered Triceratops). It was as realistically made as the one we saw on the Jurassic Park movie. Impressive!

The largest T-Rex Skull Fossil found

The largest T-Rex Skull Fossil found

20131026_TitansofthePastexhibition10

We stayed a while here because it’s really realistic. Dar was scared but still gaze at it in awe.

By the way, this exhibition is supported by a famous paleontologist Dr. Jack Horner, who had helped in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park movies. He focuses on the changes in the anatomy of the dinosaurs as they grow to adulthood and raised concerns that up to one-third of the dinosaur species identified could have just belonged to another known species, mistaken by the changes in the species’ anatomy as they age. There were also other controversies that he had mentioned in the exhibition (with his supporting evidence), such as if Tyrannosaurus was actually a scavenger and not a predator, despite many who have believed it is the latter.

The last part of the dinosaur exhibition is a big area with a documentary on dinosaurs projected on a large screen. It was a well-made documentary with plenty of information to take away from. Dar loves the show and couldn’t keep his eyes away. It would be nicer if there were more seats available though, since the show was pretty long.

The huge hall with three skeletons of dinosaurs. Argentinosaurus, Gigantinosaurus

The huge hall with three skeletons of dinosaurs. Argentinosaurus, Gigantinosaurus

It was there where we met the staff we talked to at the Triceratops area earlier. He recognized Dar and even remembered his name. They then started conversing on what was shown on the screen, engaging in an exchange of knowledge.

At this same exhibition area were three fossils, those of Giganotosaurus, Tyrannosaur and the largest fossil here, the Argentinosaur, a plant-eating long necked dinosaur (Sauropod). It measured 34 meters long and 7 meters high, and it was so long that we had a hard time trying to fit the entire fossil into our camera viewer.

20131026_TitansofthePastexhibition13
20131026_TitansofthePastexhibition12

We would have expected Dar to be very interested in this particular fossil since it is similar to his favorite Diplodocus. It didn’t turn out this way though, perhaps because its neck was so long that its head was suspended very high up, so Dar could hardly see it to be appreciative. It would thus be a lot better if this fossil was exhibited in a much larger place so that we could comfortably see the entire fossil from further away.

The final part of the exhibition showcases the creatures from the Ice Age, after the dinosaurs have become extinct. The area featured creatures which we have seen from the Ice Age animated movie, such as the mammoth, sabre-toothed cat and sloth. It was just a small part of the exhibition though, so the focus was still very much on the dinosaurs.

20131026_TitansofthePastexhibition14

After exiting the exhibition hall, we arrived at a photo collection booth where the family portrait we took earlier as we began the tour was made into a 3D photograph with a dinosaur theme. It costs S$20 but seeing that it was well taken and made, we didn’t mind buying it as memento.

There was also an area selling dinosaur-related toys and merchandise just beside the booth. We had bought a set of dinosaur models earlier but it only had Brachiosaurus, another genus of Sauropod so when we saw the Diplodocus, Dar quickly grabbed it.

20131026_TitansofthePastexhibition15

Diplodocus used to be drawn like other sauropods with a smooth back but from the books we read and borrowed, recent discoveries shown that Diplodocus and other diplodocids may have narrow, pointed keratinous spines lining their back, somewhat like an iguana. Thus, when we saw the model sold with spikes, we were quite happy that it was a close portrayal to the facts they had found.

We took a rest at MacDonald’s for lunch before returning to check out the rest of the exhibition halls in the Science Centre. They have revamped the whole place and the new exhibits were interactive and fun. We will be doing a separate post on the Science Centre.

Overall, this was an eye-opening dinosaur exhibition which we are glad to have visited despite its expensive admission fees. We will also be keeping our eyes on the new Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum which is slated to be opened in Singapore in 2014, where Dar’s favourite dinosaur will be on display! ^^

Cost: SGD$63 for the three of us (combined ticket with Science Centre entrance fees)after 10 percent discount. Child above 3 needs to pay.
Time-taken: 1.5 hrs (we took our time to read all the information, discuss with Dar, watched the movies, strayed at the exhibits)
Tip: It helps to read about Dinosaurs through non-fiction books to the child prior to the visit. Otherwise, read the information provided on the information boards and explain in simple terms to the child as the English words used are more suited for Upper Primary Kids. The display boards didn’t interest Dar even though he was well-read because the words were so tiny. Those who had not come across dinosaurs before would just simply look at the exhibits but might not absorb much information. Check out my book recommendations on Dinosaurs.

Tidbit: Walking with Dinosaurs, a new 3D animated film is scheduled to be released in theaters on December 20, 2013.

Related posts: