A new dinosaur-focused paleontology museum is under construction in southern New Jersey on a site that includes a former marl quarry that has been the site of significant fossil finds. The museum, which will open in 2023, is not far from the site where the first-discovered tyrannosaurus was found in 1866.
The $73-million Edelman Fossil Park Museum will allow visitors to be transported back to a time when dinosaurs roamed the coast, and fearsome mosasaurs, giant sea turtles and crocodiles patrolled the sea. The site and the museum will be operated by nearby Rowan University.
Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, head of the site and of the school's School of Earth and Enivronment, said the museum will also provide opportunities for the exploration of contemporary times, in particular the rapidly worsening climate and biodiversity crises.
Visitors will enter land and sea galleries of the Late Cretaceous worlds and wonder at the hyper-local focus, like a recreated Brontosaurus, the first discovered tyrannosaur, which was found just a mile from the Fossil Park site in 1866, and a 53-foot mosasaur, like one discovered at the site, "that swam through the seas, right where you are sitting."
The Hall of Cretaceous Seas will feature a vast collection of marine recreations, including dozens by world-renowned paleo sculptor Gary Staab, while the Hall of Extinction & Hope will enable visitors to experience the demise of the dinosaurs, to immerse themselves in knowledge about the ongoing climate and biodiversity crises, and to explore a network of resources to take action about them.
Elsewhere, "Discovery Forest" will feature hands-on learning stations and "Critter Cove" will contain sea and land animals with genetic connections to the site during the Late Cretaceous era. There will also be a Fossil Research Workshop, a virtual reality chamber, Café, museum store, paleo-themed playground and nature trails.