Dinosaurs Still Roam the Earth… Or At Least They Do in Ashland, Oregon

Robotic Tyrannosaurus at the Science Works Museum in Ashland, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

A large T-rex dinosaur rules the Science Works Museum in Ashland, Oregon.

If you are a fan of the Bard of Avon, odds are you are familiar with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that takes place annually in the small city of Ashland in Southern Oregon. The town has a lot going for it. (And no, I am not talking about the fact I was born there.) For example, there is the yearly chocolate festival that draws chocoholics like moths to flame, a film festival, a number of good restaurants, Southern Oregon University, an historic downtown filled with unique shops, and views of two mountain ranges (the Cascades and the Siskiyous).

I’ve come to expect all of this from Ashland, which is about 30 miles from my home on the Applegate River. What I didn’t expect were the dinosaurs. Peggy and I read about them in the Medford Tribune. They are living at Ashland’s Science Works Museum, which is chock full of entertaining hands-on science experiments guaranteed to entice youngsters– and at least two adults; Peggy and I had to try everything.

Who can resist dragging his fingers across a plasma ball and attracting electricity?

Who can resist dragging his fingers across a plasma ball and attracting electricity?

The dinosaurs are life-size robotic creatures that look and behave like the real things. They growl and roar and flash their teeth. Their eyes track you wherever you go. Scary. How could we not make the trek to Ashland?

Science Works has created a separate, forest-like enclosure for its three dinosaurs. We could hear them growling as we approached. A little girl clung tightly to her mom’s hand and refused to enter the area, understandably. Two saurornitholestes and a large tyrannosaurus rex greeted our arrival.

A sauro shows his claws while a second looks on. These large raptors were hypothesized to have had feathers. So from here on out I will refer to them as Bird-Ds (bird dinosaurs) to avoid the long name.

A sauronrnitholestes shows his claws while a second looks on. These large raptors were hypothesized to have had feathers. So from here on out I will refer to them as Bird-Ds (bird dinosaurs) to avoid the long name.

But you would probably give it a try.

Bird-D hissed at us and stood up on his hind legs. Was it time to run?

I don't think you could out run Bird-D.

I suspect we wouldn’t get far.

A close up. Is he smiling. Is it a selfie?

A close up. Is he smiling in anticipation. Is it a selfie?

Meanwhile T. Rex lurks next door. Note the beautiful detail on his skin.

Meanwhile T. Rex lurks next door. Note the beautiful detail on his skin.

 Another selfie? And why are his teeth blood-red?

Another selfie? And why are Rex’s teeth blood-red?

T. Rex takes an interest in Peggy. Watch what happens next.

He takes an interest in Peggy. Watch what happens next.

We would love to take our grand kids to see this exhibit. I suspect they would jump a lot farther than Peggy. 🙂 A little pre-education might be necessary.

Next Blog: Your suggestions on my book title have been rolling in. They have been quite thoughtful and helpful. The decision will be revealed!

22 comments on “Dinosaurs Still Roam the Earth… Or At Least They Do in Ashland, Oregon

  1. A chocolate festival? Did somebody mention a chocolate festival? Slurp…

    That dinosaur exhibit looks wonderful. My boys would’ve loved that when they were younger. Heck, they’d probably love it now.

  2. I think Curt and I spent an hour among the dinosaurs. It was so intriguing and engaging! The eye action was phenomenal Oh……there is also a FABULOUS bookstore on the main street, Bloomsbury Books (and an attached coffee shop)! Peggy

  3. I just read this to the boys, and after watching the video Chris said, “I would not like that exhibit.” In the next breath he said, “I want to see that video of Grandma and the dinosaur again! Ok, I like the exhibit now.”

    • Well, Cammie and Chris and Connor… Grandma really liked that dinosaur. She kept walking around it to make it roar. And she kept wishing she had you there with her. –Love, Grandpa

  4. The dinosaur exhibit looks like great fun! But, I would need some pre-education first!
    My choice for the book title is “The Bush Devil ate Sam”. I chose this one because we have actually met “Sam”!

  5. First, the important fact: it’s 286 miles from Ashland to Portland, give or take, which means that’s roughly the distance to Moonstruck Chocolates. Now I have dinosaurs and Moonstruck Chocolate Cafes as reasons to go to Oregon — well, along with the scenery. Of course, I can get Moonstruck by mail. The dinosaurs aren’t going to come to me.

    I wonder if dinosaurs like chocolate? I’ll bet you could tame one down right quick with a fistful of Mayan truffles. 😉

    • You should write fantasy, Linda. I can see a whole book being written about taming dinosaurs with chocolate. 🙂 BTW, the chocolate festival in Ashland is a definite must. Lots of local small businesses around here make chocolate. Add a stop off at the Mekemson house as a reason to visit Oregon.– Curt

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