Today it is rather a wet and windy day, the heavens have opened and it…
Dippy the Diplodocus, the star attraction of London’s Natural History Museum is on tour. We went to visit him while he is in Newcastle.
If you visit London’s Natural History museum this year you may notice a familiar figure is missing from the entrance hall. Dippy the Diplodocus, a replica diplodocus skeleton cast from original fossil bones, has stood in the hall since 1979. Recently he left to go on a tour of the UK. In his place is the skeleton of a blue whale.
Dippy has been a star since he arrived at the Natural History Museum in 1905, featuring in news reports and cartoons. He is the inspiration behind Disney’s 1975 film One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing. You may remember watching this as a child and seeing the dinosaur hurtling through the streets of London on a lorry.
Dippy can currently be found enjoying Newcastle life in the Great North Museum and will be here until the 6th October. Why not grab the chance to see this very special dinosaur while he is here.
Great North Museum, Newcastle
We recently took the chance to go to the Great North Museum and visit Dippy. Visiting the Great North Museum, formerly the Hancock Museum in Newcastle is like visiting an old friend. We have been many times over the years as my son has grown up. Walking through the doors brings back so many memories.
Read more: Visiting the Great North Musueum
This natural history museum is well worth a visit. There are range of displays showing the diversity of the earth’s Natural History with hundreds of creatures on display including an elephant and a great white shark. A section on dinosaurs takes you back to the Jurassic period.
You will also find plenty of human history with an interactive model of Hadrian’s wall and information about the Romans. You can also explore life in ancient Greek and ancient Egyptian times as well as seeing an Egyptian mummy. It is easy to spend plenty of time exploring.
Don’t forget to pop in and see the other dinosaurs on the ground floor. I wonder if Dippy and the T-Rex get along or if they fight after the museum closes!
Read more: A visit to Segedunum Roman Fort, Wallsend
We were a little early so we had a look around before visiting the dinosaur.. Dippy can be found right behind the Egyptian section. We had a quick look round before visiting Dippy.
Dippy on Tour Exhibition
Dippy is in his own event space on the first floor. When you walk in the door you get a real sense of how imposing a diplodocus must have been when they were alive. He really dominates the area.
Despite his size you get the impression that he must have been a really graceful creature. His neck and tail look as if they would have moved very gracefully, his tail acting to counterbalance his neck. It would have been amazing to see Dippy when he was alive, his skeleton is awe inspiring.
Notices around the bottom of his skeleton give more information about the bones which is interesting reading.
On the back wall are projections which show how Dippy was discovered. Walking along the length of the wall there is plenty to make you think. The projects discuss climate change, our planet and the environment and what we can do to stop more animals becoming extinct.
I love the way that the new technology highlights Dippy and it really makes you think about what we are doing to our world.
The exhibition has something for everyone. Kids will love to look at Dippy although they will not take that long to view him. Adults and teens will take longer to read the information on the wall and will be inspired by the sight of Dippy. It is well worth making a visit while he is still here.
Some facts about Dippy
Dippy is a diplodocus, one of the longest dinosaurs. He would have been alive during the Jurassic Period, around 150 million years ago. Dippy is a herbivore, his long neck would have helped him reach high vegetation.
The original bones of the Diplodocus were discovered in Wyoming in 1898. These bones are on display at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.
Dippy is a plaster cast taken from these original bones. Dippy has 292 bones in all and his skeleton is 21.3 metres long, 4.3 metres wide and 4.25 metres high.
As you can imagine moving Dippy is quite a challenge. He has changed exhibition space a couple of times within the Natural History Museum. During the Second World War he was disassembled and put away to keep him safe during the bombing of London. This tour of the UK is the most adventurous thing he has ever done.
Where to get tickets for Dippy at the Great North Museum
If you want to see Dippy it is best to book your free tickets in advance. You can do this via www.GreatNorthMuseum.org.uk.
Whilst a number of limited walk in tickets are available every day booking in advance will ensure you get to see him. If it is busy you might miss out.
You can see Dippy during the museum’s opening hours. Relaxed sessions are also available. These take place every Sunday at 11:15am and the first Wednesday of every month. These are reduced capacity sessions where it is quieter.
Where is Dippy going when he leaves Newcastle?
Once he leaves Newcastle in October Dippy will continue his tour across the UK. You can catch him in the following places.
- Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne, May – October 2019
- National Assembly for Wales, October 2019 – January 2020
- Number One Riverside, Rochdale, February – June 2020
- Norwich Cathedral, July – October 2020
He will finally return home to the Natural History Museum in London where the plan is to re-cast him in bronze and put him on display in the gardens surrounding the building. I am sure he will look really impressive there.
Have you been to see Dippy yet? What did you think? Let me know below.
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