As you all know, I live in the south suburbs of Chicago, home to some of the most amazing museums in the world! One of my favorites, even from when I was a little kid, is the Field Museum! I always loved wandering around, looking at all the artifacts from Egypt, American Indians, and all the different types of animals that used to roam the world. I also loved the dinosaur collection they housed. I loved it then, when I discovered the relationship between Sue, Walt Disney World and Chicago!!
In 1990, Sue Hendrickson discovered the T-Rex skeleton in South Dakota, believed to be 67 million years old. The skeleton was excavated, and then there was a lengthy legal debate of who the remains belonged to. The proper owner sold the skeleton to Sotheby’s, where an auction was held in October 1997. The winning bid was to the Field Museum for $8,362,500.00 dollars, won within 10 minutes of the start of the auction! The Field Museum was assisted in the purchase of Sue by California State University, Ronald McDonald House, McDonald’s, and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, as well as various individual donors.
2 laboratories were created to prepare the bones for display. One was within the Field Museum in Chicago, the other at Disney’s newest theme park, Animal Kingdom. The labs were viewable by the public through large glass windows. There were molds made of each bone, and these molds were made into hollow plastic sets, one to be housed in the research collection at the Field Museum, a few others for a traveling exhibition, and the final one for display at Dino-Land USA at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK)!
The exhibit at the Field Museum opened in May 2000, Sue is located on the Main Floor of the Museum, near the North ticketing entrance. She measures 42 feet long ( 2 feet shorter than the DAK model) and 13 feet tall! Upstairs, her original 600 pound skull is on display (a replica is used for the skelton) the newly redesigned exhibit, Evolving Planet, takes you on a journey through 4 billion years of life and evolution, and finishes with a wonderful display of various species of dinosaurs.
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you can find the model of Sue, or Dino-Sue as she is called, at Dino-Land USA near the entrance to the DINOSAUR attraction! I remember visiting DAK, back in 1999 (yes its been THAT long since I have been to that park!) and LOVING the fact that there was a connection to Chicago! I remember there even being a plaque near the model that explained the history of Sue! (Can anyone tell me if it is still there?)
I can’t wait to take Kayla to see this the next time we are at Walt Disney World (next year summer I hope!) She LOVES Sue here in Chicago, she will be thrilled to see one at DAK!!
So, the next time you are at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and see Dino-Sue, give a smile cause now you know the history!! (Then tweet me a pic @jrobbins79 and say hi!)
Learn more about Sue and the Field Museum in Chicago:
Follow Jamie on Twitter @jrobbins79 and at her blog www.mydreamingcorner.blogspot.com to keep up with her Disney adventures in Chicago until she can return to Walt Disney World in 2013 and Disneyland in 2013!