Something big has arrived in Brisbane. Something HUGE. It is so massive that it is the largest ever discovered on Earth. Mention anything of this scale and thoughts of dinosaurs immediately, and correctly, come to mind. Dinosaurs of Patagonia is Queensland Museum’s latest exhibition for families.
What if we were to tell you that the largest dinosaur ever discovered, (and only as recently as 2013), is now towering within the confines of our very own Queensland Museum?
Unlike any other dinosaur exhibition you may have seen before, this one brings with it the life-sized skeleton of the largest known land animal in history – the Patagotitan Mayorum. The first time it has been on the eastern shores of Australia, our team were lucky to get an advanced viewing of the exhibition, its collection and the colossal wonder that is the Dinosaurs of Patagonia.
What is the Dinosaurs of Patagonia exhibition about?
Developed by the Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio in Argentina, the exhibition spans most Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods from 70 to 230 million years ago. Featuring thirteen dinosaur species and sixteen life-sized skeletons from South America’s Age of Dinosaurs, its most famous resident, Titanosaur Patagotitan, impressively holds the title of the world’s largest animal.
Titanosaur is only one member though of this incredible collection. The exhibition also allows you to get up close to the razor-sharp teeth of the giant carnivore Tyrannotitan; stand alongside one of the world’s earliest dinosaurs Herrerasaurus, view Tyrannotitan Chubutensis, a ferocious predator from the Cretaceous period, see the world’s smallest dinosaur Manidens Condorensis, and admire the stars of the Jurassic World series, Condoraptor Currumili and Carnotaurus Sastrei in full scale.
Dinosaurs of Patagonia invites visitors to look through the eyes of Palaeontologists and learn how they unravel the history of our planet through stories embedded in ancient rocks.
What you will see at the Dinosaurs of Patagonia exhibition
Even before you enter the exhibition, there are hints that this will be more than just your average dinosaur skeleton collection.
Flanking either side of the entrance are two tables, one with small (free) ‘Field Notes’ journals for kids to take and the other housing mini Palaeontologist Kits that you can purchase for $15.00.
My kids, who both love to draw, were enamoured by the journal and immediately started to read up about how they are used by Palaeontologists and what they can do with theirs while wandering through the exhibition. Encouraged to take notes on what they learn and draw sketches of what they find, they entered the first doorway ahead of me, their immediate exclamations echoing back not long after.
Although the exhibition is built within a series of wide, open corridors, it has been cleverly designed so that there are corners to turn at different points, meaning the different skeletons are not revealed all at once. With animated screens, maps, and giant Palaeontologist journals featuring information about the different dinosaurs as well as examples of where they were found and how they were dated etc, there is a wealth of knowledge to uncover even before you take into account the monstrous creatures themselves.
Large glass cases placed intermittently throughout the space carry secret-infused fossils, their imprinted bodies telling stories of times gone by.
It is fascinating that so much of what we know about our history and the creatures that lived before us, come from objects as simple as this. They also provide a valuable lesson for kids about the dedication required and importance of Palaeontology. Other treasured finds include real dinosaur teeth and even a 2.4 metre Patagotitan femur to behold.
Of course, the real heroes of Dinosaurs of Patagonia are the numerous different dinosaur skeletons that rise tremendously from their stands.
Walking amongst these magnificent creatures is breathtaking and you can’t help but wonder what life may have been like when they once freely roamed our Earth. Although this is not a big exhibit, the dinosaurs featured within it all leave a lasting impact.
From the smallest one ever discovered (Manidens Condorensis) that sits sweetly within a glass case, to the Titanosaur Patagotitan, so large that we could all stand metres beneath the belly of its skeleton.
What the kids thought of Dinosaurs of Patagonia
Whether you have a hardcore dinosaur fan in the mix or not, this is one exhibition that can’t help but capture the attention of your family, regardless of their ages. I had two children (aged 11 years and 8 years) with me when I attended the exhibition. One is a typical lover of all things prehistoric, the other less so.
Whilst my 11 year old daughter was suitably impressed by the huge size of Titanosaur’s skeleton, it was the smallest dinosaur displays she was most drawn to. She particularly liked how the world’s smallest dinosaur, Manidens condorensis, reminded her of the infamously fearsome Tyrannosauras Rex – but on a much smaller and “cuter” scale.
She also found the information boards with details about fossils and how the Palaeontologists discovered and dated them fascinating too.
My 8 year old son, a dinosaur fan before entering the exhibit’s doors, loved the entire thing. His favourite part was standing beneath the giant skeleton of Titanosaur, comparing his legs, feet, and head size to him while wondering whether or not he would have been able to outrun the dinosaur if he was actually alive (the answer we agreed was a definite NO!).
He was drawn to things like the real dinosaur teeth and the skeleton of a dinosaur head that he tried to pretend was eating him.
While there, a young boy of about five ran from one dinosaur skeleton to another, screaming in delight. His mum informed us that he was an avid dinosaur lover and obviously in his absolute element here. This exhibition is a wonderful introduction to children of this age of the immense scale and reality of dinosaurs.
Who can go to see Dinosaurs of Patagonia?
The Dinosaurs of Patagonia exhibition is recommended for all ages by the museum, and we would agree with this. It may have some rather large creatures, but the exhibition itself is not too big and, being quite spaced out, it is easy for younger people to navigate.
Any young (or old) dinosaur enthusiast will love the displays, and it is a fantastic exhibition for school-aged children who are learning about fossils and dinosaurs to visit. There is no better way to truly understand the scale of these dinosaurs and the incredible skill involved in their discovery than to walk beneath them and see the fossilised rocks in person.
Don’t miss your chance to see this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition 230 million years in the making, only at Queensland Museum!
Where: Queensland Museum, Cnr Melbourne Street and Grey Street, South Brisbane
Contact: 3153 3000
Dates: 17th March – 2nd October, 2023
Recommended Age: Recommended for all ages
Cost: Adult $26 | Concession $23 | Family (2 Adults + 2 Kids) $72
Website and Bookings: Queensland Museum – Dinosaurs of Patagonia