The fog rose up around me…I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. The jungle seemed oppressively humid today. I heard noises in the distance. I hoped I was mistaken. I strained my ears. Yes. I was correct. I need to be able to see. I listened again and regained my bearings. I was standing right next to the Dilophosaurus. He reared back and…did nothing but fake roar at me once again. I was a volunteer every summer at the Virginia Living Museum’s outdoor dinosaur display and it was awesome.
Fast forward to now. The dinosaurs are inside. The have less than half of the ones we featured. There is no smoke machine, no noises in the humidity. Just an older man who asked my kids to stop and told them that there were 2 things they had to remember. One was to walk and the other was not to tap on the glass of the albino gator. Sigh. Anticlimactic compared to the way I did things. I had a cool pouch and kids were scared to death to go into the mist. They would hear the noises and cringe against their mothers. I would come out of the mist, bend down and pull a fake Tyranosaurus tooth out of my pouch. I would tell them the story of the Deinonychus and the Tenontosaurus. I would let them touch the fake skin of the animatronic dinosaurs and offer to be their guide. Game on. Oh yeah, if you remember from one of my previous posts, well it was a while ago, I thought I was going to be a paleontologist at one point and I read Jurassic Park for fun.
Okay, ahem, where was I. When I visit there now, I glance longingly over to the field where I once gave tours, and instead, I show my girls this:
And I talk about how wonderful it is to preserve nature and leave patches of wildflowers.
It is a blisteringly hot day and we go up to the observatory where we get to look at sunspots through a really expensive looking telescope. I find the view fascinating and snap this:
There is so much to see here that in all my years of going to the museum I had never seen the top of the museum. Pretty cool if you ask me. Although the dinosaur display is not the same as I remember it, this is by far the best museum around hands down. The people are great, and I am not just saying that because I remained friends with them for so many years, but the idea of getting a job and loving it so much that you never leave it is what this museum is about. The volunteers do this job because they love it, and the membership is wonderful. If you happen to want to donate, here is a link showing you the recent flood damage.
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” ~John Muir