Peterborough Cathedral T-Rex exhibition provides last ever chance to see amazing moving dinosaurs

The exhibition has toured nationally and internationally for 15 years and its last ever location will be Peterborough Cathedral.

By Ben Jones
Thursday, 14th July 2022, 5:47 pm

The jaw-dropping T-Rex: The Killer Question exhibition arrived at the Cathedral over the weekend in a convoy of 40ft trucks ready to be installed over the coming week ahead of the grand opening on Monday (July 18).

The 12m scale model of the T-Rex and its skeleton have been squeezed through the door and hoisted into place and, along with a series of other exhibits, including Triceratops, Ankylosaurus and Saurornithoides, will pose the question to visitors, was T-Rex a ferocious hunter or a mere scavenger?

Perhaps the most striking evidence will be the moving animatronic models of the dinosaurs on display, complete with handmade skin, a wide range of movements and the sound effects to go with it.

Preparations have started ahead of the exhibition opening next week. Photo: Terry Harris.

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    Japanese company Kokoro are behind the stunning creations but they are operated by the Natural History Museum, which has been taking them on tour for the last 15 years as part of the world-class exhibition. It is estimated that over 3 million people have seen the exhibition in total in countries such as Germany, Finland, UK, the UAE, Spain, Portugal, France, The Netherlands and Switzerland.

    This is the last ever tour of the robotic dinosaurs though and once the exhibition has ended it will be retired and a new home will be found for them.

    The exhibits have been carefully placed around the 900-year-old medieval building to maximise the viewing experience but also to enable the cathedral to remain operational as religious building.

    Robert Lewenstein, the man in charge of the exhibition, said: “We’ve really been lucky with the beautiful setting and the acoustics it provides.

    "We have been really lucky with utilising the transepts that have allowed the T-Rex skeleton and the scale model to sit opposite each other to really give visitors the chance to reflect on the true scale.

    "I also think the acoustics mean that they have never sounded better. It’s been lovely to be able to work with such architecture and the wonder of nature has always fascinated me, something we hope to show off in this exhibition.”

    The details you need to know

    The exhibition will be be open from Monday at 12 noon and run until September 3.

    Entry to the exhibition is by timed ticket and booking in advance is recommended to avoid queueing at the ticket desk in the Cathedral. Tickets are £6 for children, £8 for adults or £25

    for a family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children, or 1 adult and up to 4 children). You can book online at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/cathedral-dinos.

    During the exhibition, the nave will be the only part of the Cathedral open for sightseeing, but additional guided tours will give the opportunity to explore the Cathedral’s fascinating history at the upper levels and outside.

    Upper Level and Tower Tours take place at numerous times during July and August, and outdoor Precincts Tours take place on selected dates during August.

    The Sprite Chapel will continue to be available for quiet prayer and the daily pattern of worship will continue at its usual times throughout the exhibition. The location of some services will change, so do ask on arrival or check details on the Cathedral website.

    Other activities

    Activities during the exhibition include ‘Dino Window Wednesdays’ at St John’s Church on Cathedral Square. These free drop-in sessions, organised jointly by the Church and the Cathedral, are for families to enjoy a ‘stained glass’ craft activity and refreshments.

    There will also be a short series of talks in late August, picking up some Other Killer Questions raised by the exhibition. On 23rd August, Tony Juniper, CEO of Natural England will talk on ‘What is really happening to our planet’? Then on 30th August, Canon Andy Bryant of Norwich Cathedral will tackle the question ‘In the beginning God created…dinosaurs?’ A special podcast in the GodPod series is also being prepared for release in September, picking up some of the questions posed by visitors after seeing the exhibition.

    The Very Revd Chris Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough, said: “We’ve been planning for this exhibition since 2019 but nothing quite prepares you for the sight of these spectacular models in the historic, sacred space of the Cathedral. We hope that people, particularly families during the summer holidays, will come to be entertained and be fascinated by the sheer scale, not just of the dinosaurs but also the Cathedral itself and the God that inspired people to build it.”

    Dr Doug Gurr, Director from the Natural History Museum added: “I am delighted to see our T.rex: The Killer Question exhibition reaching new audiences in the magnificent setting of Peterborough Cathedral. Visitors of all ages will undoubtedly enjoy delving into the history of this fascinating theropod in this engaging exhibition. I hope this will inspire them to find out more about natural history and to become an advocate for nature at a truly critical time for our planet.”

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