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2016-02-25

When dinosaurs roamed Bandera …

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

It took six to seven hours to install life-size versions of dinosaurs and prehistoric mammals on the grounds of the coming-soon Bandera Museum of Natural History. And, when the museum gates swing open for business, everyone should prepare to be amazed – and not just amazed, but mouths-falling-open amazed.
Remember when the paleontologists visited Isla Nublar in Steven Spielberg’s "Jurassic Park" and observed the re-created dinosaurs for the first time? Yeah, that kind of amazement.
Beginning at 9 am, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 10 dinosaurs and prehistoric mammals were installed throughout the fenced and wooded complex and inside the facility at 267 Old San Antonio Highway, near Bandera High School.
Maggie Schumacher, who serves as senior director for development, described the installations as an “international effort” between Kerrville crane operator Thad Perry and dinosaur creator and artist Jose Edid.
After the lumbering beasts’ feet and legs were permanently attached to the ground, Perry maneuvered the beasts, including massive heads and tails, through treetops to rest them precisely on the metal armatures attached to the legs. And, according to Schumacher, the end result was spectacular.
“Thad told Mr. Edid, ‘You are a dinosaur artist and I am a crane artist’,” she said.
Additionally, two museum employees had spent a week at Edid’s studio and factory in Mexico City learning how to complete the installation process. “They were trained on how to touch-up the paint and seal the seams,” Schumacher said.
The life-size figures were built on steel frames, which were packed with heavy Styrofoam before being covered with fiberglass and realistically painted. The installations are expected to last – if not as long as their original counterparts – at least for a good long time.
One of the largest specimens is that of Giganotosaurus, which lived in what is now Argentina during the early Cenomanian age of the Late Cretaceous Period, approximately 97 million years ago. This genus included some of the largest terrestrial carnivores. Excavated remains indicated that some Giganotosaurus equaled or were slightly bigger than the fearsome Tyrannosaurus.
The outdoor area also includes four playstations for budding paleontologists who dig diligently in sand pits to uncover “long buried bones” of the giants who once walked the earth.
In related business, members of the City of Bandera Economic Development Corporation and city council recently approved funding $45,000 to complete the driveway, walking paths, parking lots and signage on the grounds, entrance and throughout the Bandera Natural History Museum.
Refer to the Courier for additional information about the museum opening.