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University Relations

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March 14, 2005
Contact: Bradley Kemp, KU Natural History Museum, (785) 864-4540; or Sarah Biles, Science City, (816) 460-2252 or (816) 813-0210.

KU, Science City 'Dino Lab' to open March 16 at KC's Union Station

LAWRENCE -- Dino Lab, which was created in a partnership with the University of Kansas and is one of only a handful of fossil preparation labs located within public view inside a museum, will open to the public Wednesday, March 16, at Science City in Kansas City, Mo.

The largest lab of its kind in America, Dino Lab features a paleontologist working on dinosaur fossils. The 1,700-square-foot lab is also the first to show the entire scientific process of preparing dinosaur fossils for exhibition. Visitors to the lab will be able to communicate with the paleontologist via a special phone. TV monitors outside the lab will show close-up views of the paleontologist at work as well as video from the Wyoming dig site where the fossils were recovered.

Outside the lab, visitors will be able to sign their names on field jackets (casts that hold fossils waiting to be prepared), use microscopes to view fossils and dino dirt, and build their own dinosaur or other prehistoric creature. An interactive exhibit surrounding the lab will provide additional information for visitors.

Dino Lab was created in partnership with KU's Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center and was funded with $500,000 in remaining Bistate I sales tax money and private donations. The project's total cost was $1 million.

Dino Lab is the first phase of a project that eventually will include a full-size Camarasaurus, nicknamed Lyle, that was recovered by KU paleontology students and volunteers in 1997 in Sundance, Wyo. When Lyle roamed North America about 140 million years ago, he was about 65 feet long and 14 feet high at the hips, and he weighed more than 60,000 pounds.

Dino Lab's first project will be to prepare Lyle for exhibition, which will take more than 18 months. A special dinosaur-focused school field trip program for students has also been developed. Students will become "junior paleontologists" and work in teams to research one of eight prehistoric creatures that lived anywhere from 250 million to 5 million years ago.

Admission to Dino Lab is included with a general admission ticket ($8.95 adults and $6.95 for seniors and children ages 4 to 12). A general admission ticket includes all of Science City and all traveling exhibits. Dino Lab is open the same hours as Science City (9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday). Science City is located at 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo.

Union Station Kansas City is a historical landmark and civic asset renovated and reopened to the public in 1999. It features a science center, national traveling exhibits, the region's only 3-D giant-screen movie theater, live theater, shops and restaurants. A bistate cultural sales tax, the first of its kind in the country, funded nearly half of the $250 million renovation. The remaining money was raised through private donations and federal funding. Union Station is a nonprofit organization.

KU's Natural History Museum is the nation's leading university-based biodiversity research institution. Its mission is to study the life of the planet for the benefit of the earth and its inhabitants, documenting the diversity of life, uncovering intricate patterns, telling the stories that emerge from this research and educating the next generation of biodiversity scientists.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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