Lauritzen Gardens turns into Omaha’s Jurassic park with Dinosaurs – UpROAR exhibit

Two velociraptors stand guard during the exhibit.
Watch for all kinds of dinosaurs at Lauritzen Gardens.

Dinosaurs of all sizes and appetites hide among the plants as Lauritzen Gardens transforms into a prehistoric world during Dinosaurs – UpROAR. The special exhibit, which runs through May 12, combines the attraction of dinosaurs with the history of plants, some native to Nebraska.

As soon as you enter Omaha’s botanical garden, you are transported back millions of years to the time that dinosaurs ruled the world. Lauritzen Gardens’ plants and vegetation surround each dinosaur display. A parasaurolophus and its babies greet visitors at the entrance to the visitors center’s exhibit hall. The plant-eater relaxes among native plants, such as the Norfolk island pine, which has prehistoric roots.  I liked that the exhibit uses dinosaurs that may not be as commonly known as the Tyrannosaurus rex, brontosaurus and stegosaurus.

The dinosaurs at the exhibit appear realistic.
The dinosaurs at the exhibit appear realistic.

A volcano spews steam in the exhibit hall. Surrounded by dinosaurs, it makes you wonder what life was like during the Cretaceous period. A hypsibema lays nears its eggs, protecting her offspring from predators and the volcano.

A hypsibema protects her eggs.
A hypsibema protects her eggs.

Exhibits showcase dinosaurs in a series of actions, including chasing prey or guarding their babies. Dinosaurs – UpROAR takes on a realistic experience when you walk through the conservatory. Hidden among the flora and fauna, some dinosaurs stand only about 14 inches tall. A 33-foot tall daspletosaur greets visitors as they enter the tropical garden. The carnivore appears to be trampling palms in its way.

A 33-foot tall Daspletosaur greets visitors as they enter the tropical garden
A 33-foot tall Daspletosaur greets visitors as they enter the tropical garden.

Family and adult events

The exhibit includes fossils and children’s activities, such as a dig station and dinosaur match game.

A dig station helps children search for fossils.
A dig station helps children search for fossils.

Lauritzen Gardens plans several events involving the exhibit, including:

  • Dinosaur yoga for the family on Jan. 26.
  • Adult-only Dino Night on Feb. 21 and March 7. The evening includes a cash bar and is restricted to people 21 and older.
  • Dinos Twilight Tour March 22.
  • Painting with Pinot’s Pallette March 16, April 6 and April 14.
  • Adult Field Trip: Fossils and Fauna in the State Capital. The field trip for adults includes a visit to Lincoln’s Sunken Garden and Morrill Hall.

Though Nebraska wasn’t home to the creatures, we’ve long loved the mystery dinosaurs challenge people to solve. Nebraska was part of a sea during the Cretaceous period, about 65-145 million years ago. The sea featured the plesiosaur, an underwater creature. The largest in the region was found in northeast Nebraska, on the Santee Indian Reservation. Later, the region was tall grassland. We have two major fossil sites where the remains of mammals – ranging from camels to pig-bison – have been discovered. Ashfall in northeast Nebraska and Agate Fossils Bed in western Nebraska are outstanding places to learn about the state’s prehistoric occupants.

Guy Darrough and his team at Lost World Studios created the dinosaurs. A self-taught palaeontologist, the Missourian participates in fossil digs and has a collection of his own.

For more information on Dinosaurs – UpROAR, please visit Lauritzen Gardens’ website.