The Sanford Museum and Planetarium will again be a popular destination for school groups and individuals this spring, particularly this year since the Sanford Museum Spring Exhibit features one of the most popular subjects for young people - dinosaurs.
Realistic paintings of dinosaurs, replicas of bone fossils and hands on activities will bring the age of dinosaurs to life for museum visitors following the March 18 opening of the exhibit. The dinosaur era focus is particularly on the Cretaceous period which included such dinosaurs as the tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops and edmondasaurus, all painted on the wall of the Sanford Museum's west gallery.
The Cretaceous period is also the time of a whole new kind of dinosaur recently discovered in South Dakota, the pachycephalosaurus, or "bonehead" as it is less formerly called. The particular species represented by a fossil replica at the museum has not been named but formal approval has been received to name it after a character in the Harry Potter series of novels.
The discoverers of the new kind of dinosaur are Brian Buckmeier, Drs. Steve and Pat Saulsbury and Darrin Maurer. Linda Burkhart, museum director, and Joe Beals of Cherokee were both in attendance at a dinosaur seminar in South Dakota last year and asked the discoverers about including the new discovery in an exhibit at the museum.
Not only was permission granted but the discoverers will present a program opening the exhibit on Saturday, March 18. The program starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.
The dinosaur exhibit will be open for viewing through the end of May. School districts from a wide radius around Cherokee make field trips to the Sanford Museum for the spring exhibit.
There will be several interactive exhibits. Visitors will be able to measure themselves against dinosaurs, use scales to measure the weight of dinosaurs in units of school buses and to excavate for fossil replicas. There is an area to dig for dinosaur parts. A special area for preschool children has age appropriate activities.
Museum visitors can expect a gigantically good time this spring.