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Return to the Prehistoric Past at the VLM

May 24, 2021

Return to the Prehistoric Past at the VLM

Bigger, Better, Wetter! JURASSIC GIANTS to arrive May 29

Newport News, VA (May 24, 2021) – For 30 years the Virginia Living Museum has been a destination for dinosaur lovers everywhere, and Summer 2021 will not disappoint. The Museum opens Jurassic Giants and features Giganotosaurus, the largest animatronic dinosaur ever on exhibit. Both indoor and outdoor displays will include a variety of roaring, stomping, water spitting dinosaurs from May 29th through September 6, 2021. VLM Members will enjoy a member only preview, Saturday, May 29 from 9am-11am and general public admission into the exhibit beginning at 11am.


Journey back millions of years to the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods and experience life-like dinosaurs around every turn. The exhibit will feature the life-sized Giganotosaurus, the largest animatronic dinosaur ever displayed at the Museum. Towering at 20 feet in height and 40 feet in length, Giganotosaurus is too big to fit indoors. Thanks to Hampton Roads Crane & Rigging Company, the dinosaur was lifted by crane to his summer destination, the Museum’s conservation garden where he will be displayed with a water spitting Suchomimus! Cool off all summer long with the watery spray from this fierce but friendly dinosaur.  Don’t exit the garden without a photo – kids of all ages can climb on the back of the lounging T.rex for a family snapshot.


On display indoors in the Museum’s Changing Exhibits Gallery, Jurassic Giants will captivate visitors with animatronic figures including the Edmontosaurus and nest, Rugops, Euoplocephalus, Therizinosaurus, Styracosaurus and baby and a hands-on Deinonychus robot!


Not to miss, are companion programs for Jurassic Giants:

  • Dino Yoga

Step back in time and warm up with Dawn of the Dinosaurs poses, stretch it out with our Dino Classics, and then cool down with some Dino Bedtime poses. All ages are welcomed. Ongoing classes daily in changing exhibits gallery.


  • Astronomy Activities | Planetarium Shows 

1pm – May 29, 30 and 31 – Enjoy a fun and educational hands-on activity that ties in to the planetarium show featured that day! Guests will be able to extract and take home a small quantity of micrometeorites.

1:30pm – May 29, 30 and 31 – Impact!  is a fulldome planetarium show that focuses on impact events on Earth including the K-T extinction event. The K–T extinction, is a global extinction event responsible for eliminating approximately 80 percent of all animal species about 66 million years ago.

Cost: free for members, $4 in addition to Museum Admission for non-members, (Planetarium show ticket purchase at front desk) Click here for remainder of summer Planetarium schedule.


  • Live Ambassador Animal Shows –  Mysteries of the Past

Description: Discover what it takes for something to become a fossil, what we can learn from fossils, and how we use those skills to identify animal signs today. Then get a close encounter with some animals you might discover in your own backyard!

Special dates and times: May 29th, 30th and 31st – 11:45am, 12:45pm, 1:45pm

Summer Dates: Daily – June 19th through September 6, 2021

Times: 11:45am, 12:45pm, 1:45pm

Location: Outside: Amphitheater | Inside: When weather dictates

Length: 15 minutes


  • Original Virginia Dinosaur Tracks

Find the proof that dinosaurs were in Virginia at the base of the large staircase in the Museum’s main indoor section. Visit Kayentapus, real dinosaur tracks found in Virginia. The Virginia Living Museum exhibits a trackway left nearly 210 million years ago in what was a vast swampy plain near Culpeper, Virginia. Named Kayentapus, the tracks are the largest meat-eating dinosaur tracks found in Virginia so far. The trackway, with four tracks, was part of almost 2,000 fossil footprints of dinosaurs and other reptiles uncovered at the Culpeper Stone Company quarry near Stevensburg in 1989.

In the center of the spiral staircase, the museum also exhibits a sculpture of an adult dinosaur that is an artistic interpretation of a living, hunting, dynamic predator in action – a dinosaur that would have been similar to, but not exactly the same as, the dinosaur that left the trackway. The sculpture was created by Keith Strasser of Middle Island, N.Y.


  • Dinosaur Discovery Trail

This permanent exhibit located off the Museum’s outdoor boardwalk trail is our own Jurassic Park! The outdoor exhibit is nestled in the wooded area off the live animal boardwalk and showcases 16 of the majestic animals that ruled our earth for more than 150 million years ago. Visitors walk through the woods to see realistic one-third to full-size dinosaurs from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The dinosaurs range in size from a mini Ankylosaur to a 16-foot-tall Brachiosaurus. There is a baby T.rex photo op, a half-size T.rex, plus several nests and baby dinosaurs.

The trail also includes a Paleo Camp for future Paleontologists to build a base camp, four dig pits for amateur paleontologists, a playground and display huts of dinosaur and other fossils, including an actual whale specimen from Hampton Roads.

Three new additions to Dinosaur Discover Trail for Summer 2021 are a Sleeping Ankylosaurus (12 ft long) and Titanosaur femur (8 ft long) – both are fun for kids to climb on as well as the Sleeping Muttaburrasaurus (10 ft long). 


  • Dino on the Loose


Join the VLM Walking T.rex mascot for a 15 minute dinosaur parade at 11am and 1pm one Saturday a month. Photo ops and a roaring good time takes place on the Dinosaur Discovery Trail! Summer dates are: June 26, July 17, and August 21. (weather permitting)


Jurassic Giants is included in general Museum admission. The exhibit was made possible thanks to PRA Group, Inc., Abbitt Realty Company LLC, Virginia Tourism Corporation, M&M Mortgage Team, Waterway Surveys & Engineering, Ltd., Canon Virginia, Inc., and York County Arts Commission.


The Virginia Living Museum is a leader in the use of natural living exhibits (animals, plants, marine life, reptiles, amphibians, and birds) to present its mission—connecting people to nature through educational experiences that promote conservation. An independent 501c3 organization, the Museum is a successful public/private partnership with the City of Newport News and all guests. Accredited by both the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Alliance of Museums, the Museum’s high standards are its hallmark, as only fourteen institutions share this designation in the country. It is a certified Virginia Green attraction dedicated to environmentally friendly practices. Located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News (I-64, exit 258-A) it is open 9 to 5 daily.


All updated COVID-19 safety guidelines are enforced. See Museum Status for up-to-date information, visit or call 757-595-1900. You can also find the Museum on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 


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