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‘Permian Monsters’ Exhibit Opening Day Celebration

Seven animatronic figures bring the Permian Period to life and let guests see and hear from some of its most distinguished creatures, like this Titanophoneus, in the “Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs” exhibit, on display at the Florida Museum in Gainesville September 29, 2018 - May 5, 2019. - © Photo courtesy of Gondwana Studios

Florida Museum of Natural History

The Florida Museum of Natural History will be hosting a free, fun-for-all-ages opening day celebration of their “Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs” exhibit on September 29 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Florida Museum of Natural History, 3215 Hull Road, UF Cultural Plaza in Gainesville.

The museum will have hands-on activities, fossil displays and a dig pit. Visitors can discover what Earth was like before the arrival of dinosaurs and mammals. Guests are invited to bring objects for identification and speak with members of Florida fossil clubs to learn what specimens can be found around the state as an early celebration of National Fossil Day.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to meet paleontologists and geologists who work every day to uncover the secrets these ancient remains reveal about past life on Earth.

“When most people think about mass extinctions, they think about the dinosaurs disappearing, or more recent extinctions like mammoths and mastodons,” said Julie Waters, Florida Museum exhibit coordinator. “But the end-of-Permian extinction was vastly more devastating - something almost wiped out all life on Earth, and that ‘something’ is one of the great mysteries of paleontology.”

The exhibit will use interactive models and real fossils to educate guests about this period. Life-size animatronic figures of seven different creatures along with 12 illustrations by award-winning paleo-artist Julius Csotonyi bring the Permian Period to life and depict the biodiversity of the time. Guests will also have the opportunity to step into the shoes of a paleontologist to sift through four dig pits and interact with fossil casts and skeletons. The exhibit also features lifelike sculptures and touch-screen games to educate and quiz visitors. The exhibit will use skeletons, sculptures and replicas to educate visitors about these creatures and explore how they might have survived.

Admission to “Permian Monsters” will be $8 for adults; $7 for Florida residents, seniors and college students; $5.50 for ages 3-17 and free to museum members and UF students with a valid Gator 1 card. The Museum will display the exhibit through May 5, 2019. This exhibit was created by Gondwana Studios and sponsored in part by contributions from Visit Gainesville/Alachua County, University of Florida Student Government and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. For more information, please visit or call 352-846-2000.