This exhibition brings the latest tyrannosaur discoveries to life, overturning our preconceptions about these ferocious predators.
These massive creatures have drawn massive crowds. Rick Ellis, Chief Executive, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
- 5 complete tyrannosaur cast skeletons
- 3 models of feathered dinosaurs
- 7 tyrannosaur cast skulls
- Real specimens
- Augmented reality experience
- Immersive video projection tunnel
- Interactives and multimedia experiences
Scope and themes
The exhibition explores the 'most feared and revered' of all dinosaurs in new and different ways.
The exhibition's specimens are not only spectacular in scale and form, but also reveal some of the most significant discoveries in palaeontology of the past decade. Tyrannosaurs offers visitors a look at rare and magnificent real fossils but also reconstructs the life-sized skeletons of these terrifying carnivores like you’ve never seen before. You think you know T. rex – think again.
One of the most exciting developments in dinosaur palaeontology over the past five years has been the discovery of early Asian tyrannosaurs – the ancestors of later giants like T. rex. In a case of good luck and timing, one of the oldest tyrannosauroids has recently been found at Liaoning in China, complete with 'proto-feathers' (early feather-like structures). Discoveries like this are changing the story of the evolution of tyrannosaurs. New research is also shedding light on the true character of T. rex, the most 'extreme' tyrannosaur.
Tyrannosaurs presents a variety of objects including a selection of striking life-sized skeletons and models. Interactives in the exhibition help visitors learn about the evolution of the tyrannosaurs and the latest scientific stories behind these remarkable creatures. Tyrannosaurs incorporates innovative multimedia experiences to engage audiences of all ages.
Tyrannosaurs takes a playful approach to presenting the exhibition elements, while ensuring layered content is available to explore the science behind this most popular dinosaur group.
The skeletons are brought to life through computer generated image (CGI) animations presented in digital label screens. Each animation features hotspots on the animal’s body. When activated, a quick fact is revealed and the animation comes to life, snapping at the visitor’s fingers if they get too close to the teeth or nose - or walking and running when its legs and feet are touched.
Digital labels also present two other threads of information; the “dino hunter” story of the palaeontology relating to the fossil and the “habitat” story describing the ancient environments. This additional content is geared for those audiences that like more detailed information.
The exhibition also showcases a range of cutting edge technologies to present immersive and engaging multimedia experiences. These include:
- 11-metre video projection tunnel showing life-sized dinosaurs running amok in your city
Digital screens featuring computer animated creatures and layered content
- Large scale, multi-touch and multiplayer family tree gaming table
- Interactive augmented reality experience where visitors can play with life-sized dinosaurs in the gallery, in real time
- Free mobile app game that challenges users to find and unlock 22 different tyrannosaurs. The Tyrannosaurs app has almost 3 million downloads to date!
What is a Tyrannosaur?
Discover how tyrannosaurs fit into the dinosaur family tree and explore the key features that define a tyrannosaur – features that make them different from other dinosaur groups.
Visitors enter the exhibition and come face-to-face with a life-sized tyrannosaur ... only to discover it’s a little bigger than they are! Here, they meet Guanlong, one of the earliest tyrannosaurs.
Meet the Family
Visitors are immersed in a large-scale projection experience, which introduces them to the tyrannosaur families. Set in a familiar, yet unexpected, context the visitor will see how tyrannosaurs came in a range of sizes and shapes; some with feathers, some without, some much more threatening than others. Being surrounded by numerous different tyrannosaurs, interacting with each other and the urban environment, will be an unforgettable and unique visitor experience; a powerful introduction to these fascinating creatures.
Explore the Family
Tyrannosaurs lived in different habitats, at different times and evolved to fill different ecological niches. Here the experience opens up to allow visitors time to investigate the tyrannosaur families in detail. What do we know about them and how? What don’t we know? Exhibits present the evolution of the tyrannosaur families, revealing how natural selection, continental drift and climate change facilitated their transformation from carnivores little bigger than ourselves, to massive top predators.
T. rex the Ultimate
T. rex was the ultimate tyrannosaur – learn what makes it one of the most formidable predators that ever lived. The focal piece of this section is the cast of ‘Scotty’, one of the largest and most complete T. rex specimens in the world. Connected to Scotty is a suite of exhibit stations that reveal what made T. rex the ultimate predator and the wealth of research (and debate) surrounding this fascinating creature.
T. rex Alive!
Get up close and personal with T. rex and a host of other tyrannosaurs in this cutting-edge augmented reality interactive experience. How does it feel to stand alongside these amazing predators? Visitors encounter a huge wall of what appears to be security camera footage of various spaces in the exhibition. Slowly, tyrannosaurs can be seen ’breaching’ various museum areas and entering the gallery spaces. Soon, they enter the exhibition itself and interact with the visitor in real time.
Tyrannosaurs the Legacy
Tyrannosaurs thrived for 100 million years and were some of the largest and most successful predators ever. Despite their final demise during one of Earth’s biggest mass extinction events, tyrannosaurs live on – in our imagination, our culture and in their bird cousins in our backyards.
The final part of the exhibition narrative presents the legacy of tyrannosaurs and asks how they still impact our lives. Bringing the story full-circle, it reveals how the latest findings from China are re-writing T. rex’s history, before discussing both the extinction of the tyrannosaurs, and how their cousins – the birds – survive today.
Venue gallery size: 6,500 sq ft to 10,000 sq ft
Venue ceiling height: 14 ft required throughout, 19 ft recommended for T. rex
Conservation & Security: Moderate
Standard rental length: 3 month minimum
Install & de-install time: up to 10 working days for each
Freight: exhibition travels in 3 x 53 ft trailers & 1 x 20 ft climate-controlled vehicle for specimens. Crates require storage.
- 26 September 2014 to 8 February 2015 – Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand
- 22 May to 4 October 2015 – Scienceworks, Museums Victoria, Australia
- 31 October 2015 to 28 March 2016 – Newcastle Museum, New South Wales, Australia
- 2 February to 30 April 2017 – Waterloo Region Museum, Kitchener, Canada
- 29 May to 27 August 2017 – Discovery Centre, Halifax, Canada
- 28 September 2017 to 22 April 2018 – Science Center of Iowa, USA
- 26 May to 3 September 2018 – Discovery Place, North Carolina, USA
- 8 June to 1 September 2019 – Durham Museum, Nebraska, USA
- 23 January to 4 May 2020 - National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland
- 19 June to 3 October 2021 – Science Museum of Virginia, USA