LSM dino

An array of summer activities are being offered at the Lafayette Science Museum with its new fossil exhibition and the screening of an animated series from Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

The museum, located at 433 Jefferson St., has partnered with UL Lafayette School of Geosciences to present “Geology Exposed,” an exhibition of rocks and minerals from around the world on loan from the the university’s extensive collection. Among other things, according the museum’s website, visitors will be able to explore “the inside of crystallized minerals and take an up-close view of real petrified wood. See the beauty the earth has to offer if you’re willing to dig a little deeper through the crust.”

UL’s geosciences department also loaned academic expertise to “Fossil Giants — Dinosaurs & Mammals,” a self-explanatory exhibit in which three epochs will be presented through extensive fossil casts over the course of the next three years: Triassic/Jurassic, Cretaceous and Cenozoic. The museum’s exclusive addition began with the Triassic/Jurassic period on April 5 and runs through the end of the year. The Cretaceous period will debut in 2015 with the Cenozoic period to follow in 2016. The exhibit will demonstrate how dinosaurs and mammals evolved and the effects tectonic shifts had on the Earth and biological evolution.

Kevin Krantz, museum administrator and curator of exhibits, says visitors are always welcome to come and ask questions.

LSM rock“We don’t want it to be like Walmart, like when you walk in and you don’t know who to talk to. We want to interact with our guests,” says Krantz. At the time of this interview, a young boy named Issac asked Krantz if there were fossils of a Megalodon, a prehistoric shark from the Cenozoic period, which Issac proudly proclaimed he knew was a meat-eater.

The “Fossil Giants” exhibit is being dedicated to James Madsen, the first-ever state paleontologist in the U.S., and his wife, Sue. James passed away in 2009 at the age of 77.

Residents are also invited to the screening of Space Racers, a new animated preschool program, on Sunday, July 13 at 11 a.m. before it airs locally on LPB. The series follows young spaceship cadets as they journey throughout the solar system and learn about science investigation, space exploration and teamwork. After the screening, the show’s co-creator and executive producer will give a behind-the-scenes look at the characters’ development along with NASA scientists and astronauts’ involvement with the series. The museum usually opens at 1 p.m. on Sundays, but for the screening, doors will open at 10:30 a.m., giving guests the opportunity to visit “Fossil Giants,” the planetarium and other attractions throughout their stay. The screening is free with cost of general admission.

For more on exhibits and programming at the Lafayette Science Museum, check out their website.

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