Ahead of this weekend’s hotly-anticipated release of Disney*Pixar’s Wyoming-set animated movie The Good Dinosaur, dino-fans should make plans to travel to The Real America to explore the region’s extensive palaeontological history.
Hollywood comes to Wyoming with The Good Dinosaur
From 27 November, film fans will have the opportunity to discover Wyoming’s incredible natural landscapes after the Wyoming Office of Tourism (WOT) joined forces with Disney*Pixar to become the official destination partner for The Good Dinosaur. Inspired by Wyoming’s rugged countryside, artists at Pixar have worked great detail into the film’s environments to give viewers the chance to see interpretations of the state’s larger-than-life landscapes and palaeontological activities.
Exploring a concept in which dinosaurs never became extinct, the film shares the story of an Apatosaurus named Arlo and his unlikely friendship with a human boy, Spot. Together, they embark on an epic adventure that forces Arlo to face his fears and learn a lot about himself along the way. From the Grand Tetons and the geysers and waterfalls of Yellowstone National Park to the grasslands of the high plains and the Red Desert, the film’s production team incorporated a wide variety of Wyoming landscapes into Arlo’s journey.
As the official destination partner, WOT has developed a marketing programme in coordination with Disney*Pixar that showcases the Wyoming that inspired the film’s landscapes. Assets from the film, such as still shots, animated scenes and characters, will be used to promote visitation to the state.
To watch the trailer for The Good Dinosaur, click here.
Meet the T. rex in Montana
In Bozeman, Montana, discover the Museum of the Rockies (MOR), a world-renowned dinosaur research facility that houses one of the largest and most important collections of dinosaur fossils anywhere in the world. Led by palaeontologist Dr. Jack Horner, who served as the scientific advisor for the Jurassic Park films and worked with Steven Spielberg on the TV series Terra Nova, the museum’s Siebel Dinosaur Complex boasts 13 T. rex specimens, the largest T. rex skull ever discovered plus an impressive display of Triceratops skeletons. Its newest attraction, ‘The Tyrant Kings featuring Montana’s T. rex’ offers visitors the chance to see one of the most complete fossilized T. rex skeletons ever located, which stands at 12 feet tall, measures approximately 40 feet from nose to tail, and would once have weighed almost seven tons as it roamed the eastern regions of Montana.
Play palaeontologist for the day in North Dakota
At the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum in Bismarck, see a life-size ‘T. rex’ skeleton, fossils dating back 90 million years, interactive displays and a ‘Corridor of History’ that gives visitors insight into the state’s prehistoric life. On selected summer dates, kids visiting the museum can play palaeontologist for the day during free dinosaur-themed art classes. The one-hour ‘Jurassic Art and Cretaceous Critters’ class gives kids aged 11-15 the chance to cast their own prehistoric pieces in plaster, draw dinosaurs and sculpt and paint a clay sculpture.
For adults keen to take a more in-depth and hands on approach to dinosaur discovery, Hell Creek Fossils offers week-long palaeontology digs in the scenic Badlands of North Dakota. The dinosaur digs take place near to the historic town of Marmarth and are open to anyone with an interest in palaeontology, geology, dinosaurs and fossils. Past dinosaur fossil excavations have uncovered T. rex and Triceratops remains. During the dig, participants can learn to use scientific field techniques to prospect for and discover fossils that are over 66 million years old. Day tours are also available.
Journey into ‘The Abyss’ in South Dakota
In Rapid City, South Dakota, The Journey Museum & Learning Center gives visitors a chance to step back in time and journey through ‘The Abyss’, a star-studded darkness designed to represent billions of years of unrecorded time. Upon emerging from this vast emptiness, see a huge geologic cross-section of the Black Hills that demonstrates how the region was formed over 2.5 billion years. For holidaymakers looking for free outdoor ‘dino-discovery’ activities, the Dinosaur Park in the Black Hills is one of South Dakota’s original tourist attractions, dating back to 1936, and offers sweeping views over the South Dakota Badlands. At the park, see gigantic dinosaur statues and keep eyes peeled for dinosaur footprints from the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous periods.
For more information on The Real America and each participating state, visit www.realamerica.co.uk