PaleoFest 2014 explores ‘The World After Dinosaurs’

Staff Report

PaleoFest 2014 will focus on the Cenozoic Era, or “The World After Dinosaurs” this weekend, March 8 and 9, at Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St.

The Cenozoic is a time period ranging from 65 million years ago to the present. There will be a few dinosaur lectures this year, but most talks will focus on how mammals and non-mammals filled ecological niches previously occupied by dinosaurs, what was happening to the environments and related topics.
This year’s Dinner Lecture speaker will be Dr. Kirk Johnson, Sant Director of the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Johnson has been Sant Director since October 2012. He is a paleontologist who has led expeditions resulting in the discovery of more than 1,400 fossil sites on all continents. His research focuses on fossil plants, the extinction of the dinosaurs, and methods for dating rocks and fossils. He is known for his scientific books and articles, popular books, museum exhibits, presentations and collaborations with artists.

In 2010-11, he led the Snowmastodon Project, excavating an amazing ice age site near Snowmass Village, Colo. This dig was featured in the NOVA documentary, Ice Age Death Trap, and in Johnson’s book, Digging Snowmastodon, Discovering an Ice Age World in the Colorado Rockies.
At the National Museum of Natural History, Johnson leads a staff of nearly 500 who, each year, host more than 7 million visitors, publish more than 600 scientific papers, and care for 127 million specimens in the world’s largest natural history collection.
Saturday, March 8, the Mixer will begin at 4:30 p.m. on the top three floors of the museum, following the last daytime lecture. The Dinner Presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. on the lower level. The doors to Burpee Museum will open Saturday, March 8 and Sunday, March 9 at 8:45 a.m. for those attending the Daytime Lectures. For information on lecture schedule and ticket prices, go to, or call (815) 965-3433.

PaleoFest Children & Family Activities This year, the staff at Burpee Museum of Natural History are pleased to welcome back renowned paleontologist, author, educator and host of hit PBS show Dinosaur Train, Dr. Scott Sampson. The series focuses on a Tyrannosaurus rex named Buddy that goes on adventures with his adopted Pteranodon family to discover, meet, explore, and have all kinds of dino-adventures. Dr. Sampson will host a family-friendly breakfast presentation, a workshop, and additional presentation lectures at Burpee Museum and Memorial Hall.

PaleoFest 2014 will offer many different activities for children and families. In addition to the PaleoPassport (previously known as DinoBlast) activities, there will be several workshops hosted by Burpee Museum, Dr. Scott Sampson, and a breakfast presentation hosted by Dr. Scott Sampson. All children attending activities must be accompanied by an adult.

PaleoPassport activities take place during PaleoFest weekend and are great fun for children. Kids and families can visit stations throughout the museum and get their “passport” stamped at the completion of each activity. This year, stations will follow themes such as Cenozoic predators to coincide with the entire theme of PaleoFest. When kids complete all the activities and visit all the stations, they will receive a prize.

PaleoPassport activities will occur from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, March 8 and Sunday, March 9. PaleoPassport activities are included with general admission. Dr. Scott Sampson’s Children’s Presentation will be given at 2 p.m., Sunday, March 9, at Memorial Hall. The Dr. Scott Breakfast Presentation will be at 9 a.m., Saturday, March 8 at Memorial Hall. His Children’s Workshop will be at 2 p.m. at Memorial Hall.

Burpee Museum will host two workshops for children during PaleoFest weekend. The firest one, “Megalodon – Monster of the Cenozoic Seas,” will focus on Megalodon sharks lilke the ones in the traveling exhibit, Megalodon: Largest Shark That Ever Lived, from Feb. 1 to April 29, 2014. The Megalodon workshop will explore questions like where a Megalodon tooth can be found, what other sharks were alive in that time, and kids can create their very own Megalodon tooth cast.

The second workshop, “Stop! Danger: Entering the Cenozoic Era,” explores the world of mysterious mammal predators, tremendous snakes, carnivorous flightless birds and terrestrial crocodiles. Kids can “meet” powerful mammal predators like Entelodonts, an apex “terminator pig” and creodonts who preyed on the strange chalicotheres and herbaceous placental mammals. Kids can also create a Cenozoic diorama.
The Burpee workshops will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, March 8, and Sunday, March 9, in the Burpee Gallery on the museum’s third floor.

From the March 5-11, 2014 print edition

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