Our recent trip into the field was based in the town of Xixia in south western Henan in central China. In the last couple of years they have opened a major museum cum dinosaur theme park thingy with two separate museum buildings to house their collection of eggs and bones, some animatronic dinosaurs and outside a huge collection of concrete life-sized replicas of famous dinosaurs.
Apart from a few dodgy bits (tails are often a bit short and postures are odd, probably simply to add stability to the models) these replicas are generally very good. They are the right size and shape and have the main details put in correctly and often have nice and indeed realistic colour schemes (though none in black and white sadly). While there are a couple of duff ones (the Spinosaurus was horrific) overall I was impressed. A nice touch was that they were set in a lush garden so you really got a good impression of animals in a real environment and not just a bunch of models standing around in an open field, and each came with a small plaque providing basic information about the animal.
In the UK at least these kind of large scale replicas are few and far between and often very outdated and badly made. Mostly what none of them are is full-sized and there is something wonderful about standing next to a full-sized Brachiosaurus. Nothing I know of shows up the size of an animal like being able to physically stand right next to it and get to it properly. I used to work in a couple of zoos for a while and while intellectually you might *know* exactly how big a giraffe or rhino or emu is, you only get a real sense of scale by actually being able to get right up to the animal.
There are of course full size mounts for big dinosaur skeletons around but not only can you often not get that close to them, but it’s still not quite the same as being around a life reconstruction. If only in my case because for once I don’t have to focus on the bones and can spend my time looking at the actually animal and not trying to count the cervicals or see where the deltopectoral crest finishes.
Anyway here are a few of the better mounts (and a slightly dodgy dromaeosaur), so enjoy. I’ll deal with the main part of the museum next.