Walking the Dinosaur

LOOK. IT’S AMAZING.

One of the things that has always disappointed me about living in Canberra is my continuing inability to go out and absorb all the touristy delights it offers. Parliament House, Cockington Green, the Australian War Memorial, the Segways on Lake Burley-Griffin, the Skywhale, the giant owl statue that looks like a penis: I’ve missed them all. Sure, I’ve managed to tick off Questacon, the National Museum of Australia and Old Parliament House, but there’s still stacks of places that I haven’t gotten to yet.

Until recently, that number included the National Dinosaur Museum at Gold Creek. Yesterday, I succeeding in ticking that attraction off my list.

And oh my god, it was brilliant.

First and foremost, as you can see from the picture above, from the moment you roll up, you are confronted by exactly what this museum is all about – prehistoric pieces of fibreglass awesome. (Also, a bit of palaeontology, but you know, mostly badass dinosaur models.) You rock up to this museum and you immediately know you’re in for a good time. Even though it took me over an hour to get there by bus, I knew from the get go that it was definitely going to be worth going to all that effort.

Since it’s Science Week, the National Dinosaur Museum had been putting on special tours, and I arrived just in time for the second one. The guide was really nice and incredibly knowledgeable, and even tolerated some of my attempts at humour, which gets super huge bonus awesome points from me because my jokes are generally a special kind of awful. Some of the exhibits were a little underwhelming (mostly because there was so much information, and not enough moving dinosaurs), but when the time came for the motion-detecting models, I was totally sold. They all looked fantastic, and even encompassed a bunch of Australian dinosaurs. Some of my new dino pals even agreed to take selfies with me.

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Yep. I definitely had a good time.

But what is the most salient thing about the photos from my trip to the museum is that it’s just me (and my prehistoric pals). I didn’t have anyone to come with me.

Maybe it was because everyone I knew was busy, or I didn’t give enough warning, but judging by the general bewilderment expressed on the faces everyone I told about my weekend plans, I think there’s a certain degree of cringe involved with getting out and seeing those things about your town that are “just for the tourists”. I know that it existed for in terms of the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, but that was more about the fact that it cost a ridiculous amount to go in and it was on the outskirts on the other side of town. But there’s plenty of fantastic things to do in Canberra that are relatively cheap (my dinosaur visit only set me back $14 for an adult ticket), so really there’s no excuse to not take the initiative and be a tourist in your own town, especially since the capital is currently in its Centenary year.

But really, it’s something we should all endeavour to do, no matter where we live. Get to know the tourist traps around your town, get stuck in and let your inner child run riot. Trust me. You’ll have an absolute ball.

Just ask my Parasaurolophus buddy here. He knows what’s going down.

 

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