My Childhood Love of Velociraptors was a Lie

For the Feast of St. Joseph, my husband took off work and thought it’d be a great day to visit an animatronic dinosaur exhibit at a museum where our family has a memberships. (I know, animatronic dinosaurs are the first thing I think of too for St. Joe’s day. We also hit Mass so we’re not complete wackos.)

I’m going to share some disturbing photos of our visit in an effort to warn you that everything you know about dinosaurs is wrong!

If you’re like me, you had a love of dinosaurs as a child, went through a period of dreaming to be a paleontologist, then quickly replaced that dream when you realized it required hours of digging at bones in the hot sun and not drilling dinosaur DNA from petrified amber. Because:


Okay, so maybe I had already outgrown my dinosaur love when this movie was released in 1993, but still, it shaped my ideas of dinosaurs for years. To quickly summarize my views as I approached yesterday’s exhibit:

  • Velociraptors are about the size of a man and will chase people for sport.
  • T-Rex’s are the biggest, baddest dudes on the planet.
  • Dinosaurs are cold-blooded, lizards with hard scaly skin.
  • Dinosaurs are cool.

Then as I’m wandering through the display either steering a wheelchair, covering Fulton’s ears or yelling ‘No you can’t touch it!” or “It’s activated by motion sensors!” I come across this monstrosity.

photo 1 (9)

This thing, which looks like it ran right out of a Temple Run game, is what people are being told a Velociraptor looks like. Fur, feathers and apparently, now velociraptor are believed to be between the size of a large turkey and great dane. I mean, can you even imagine watching Jurassic Park if velociraptors were the size of a dog and looked like this?!

Yeah, it would be THIS awesome. I was really just looking for some way, anyway, I could slip this graphic in my post.

While I was reeling from the sting of my childhood being unmasked as a lie, I walked up to this picture.

photo 2 (9)

That big, angry chicken covered with paint? It’s a T-Rex! The poster board goes on to basically establish all new “facts” about the Tyrannosaurus and other dinosaurs: they were  born covered with feathers, they were probably warm-blooded like birds, and the T-Rex had fur….FUR…and walked with his body perpendicular to the ground, rather than upright.

photo (5)

“Everything you knew about me was wrong! My twenty year old animatronic frame has been modified with a dingy brown shag carpet to reveal the latest in SCIENCE!”

I could tell my husband and I were not the only ones confused by the exhibit. Other parents read the boards suspiciously, then quietly guided their children to the interactive iPad games or Triceratops display, which thankfully was fur and feather free…for now.

Don’t ever change Triceratops. I love you just the way you are.

Tony’s description, “It’s like some boy’s kid sister got a hold of some of his dinosaurs and dressed them up.” I believe he also used the term ‘”tarred and feathered.” Plus I think he’s going to take pleasure in telling everyone we’re raising dinosaurs in our backyard. Free range eggs prices are going to go through. the. roof. 

I know that birds are believed to be the descendants of dinosaurs, but I didn’t realize that modern paleontology seems to believe that dinosaurs are more like birds than reptiles. So where my generation, and all previous, will remember dinosaurs as such:

My children will remember them as more like birds. I weep for them, and their entire mislead generation.

photo 3 (6)
Shake a tail feather Velociraptor! You’re ready for your Broadway debut!

That only leaves one to wonder, what will my grandchildren believe about dinosaurs?

“Scientists have found fossilized remains of what appears to be buttons. We now believe dinosaurs wore clothes. This indicates a higher level brain function than previously thought. It is quite possible that these warm-blooded mammals had a fully developed culture and civilization. In fact, we believe that humans may have evolved from dinosaurs rather than apes due to tiny tissue samples we’ve carefully removed and studied by throwing them at a wall and seeing what sticks.”


  1. Wow. I would have been disappointed with these displays, too. But, don’t despair! Dinosaurs are still super cool. My kids and I watch NOVA and other well done science stuff all the time, and knew about the feathers etc. check out your library. Try: Walking with Dinosaurs, or the one about allosaurus Big Al. Also, have you read The Enormous Egg? Fun story (fiction) about chicken farmers and a triceratops!

  2. Ugh! Seriously!?? Sometimes I think you’re right about how they come up with their new ‘facts’.

  3. So….are they saying the bones they found of what they previously thought were velociraptors are something else? How could the size change so drastically? What is going on in that museum?

  4. I’ve seen this idiocy in several places. It’s part of the new Evolutionary Just So Story that birds are the descendants of dinosaurs who, while “hopping around and flapping their arms” trying to catch flying insects, spontaneously generated functional wings and grew feathers.

    This is so because SCIENCE!

    *rolls eyes*

    I’m glad when the Fort Worth Zoo had its animatronic dino display a few years back they still looked like giant terrible lizards.

    1. I know! My kids loved The Land Before Time, and not a feather to be seen. If keeping a 20th century view of dinosaurs is wrong, than I don’t want to be right!

    1. Don’t feel silly! You gave some good resources! All I did was rant, and post some crazy pictures and gifs. You provided the educational component which my original post lacked. 🙂

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