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Jurassic-era fossils entertain young and old

Karleigh Neff
LV Life Editor

Millions of years ago dinosaurs roamed the Earth, now their remains are the focal point of Fossil Fest at Raymond M. Alf Museum in Claremont.

People of all ages came together at Raymond M. Alf Museum among dinosaur bones and prehistoric replicas Saturday to learn about fossils and paleontology research.

The museum is located at the Webb Schools in Claremont, but visitors from across Southern California came to participate.

The event was mainly for children with stations like Dino Dig Pit and Print a Foot Print Replica set up.

Children and adults were able to make a fossil of their own with plaster using different animal’s footprints.

“It’s really just a great learning experience for the kids,” Nel Graham, event volunteer, said.

“It was an outstanding turn out and there was kids of all ages participating.”

The museum has been open for more than 50 years and is considered world class and certified, according to paleontologist and museum director Don Lofgren.

Only 10 percent of museums are certified in the United States, making the Alf Museum small but powerful.

“We have thrown this event once a year for a couple years now and it has been really great,” Lofgren said.

“The first year we had over 800 people show up so we decided to market smaller after that,” he said.

On the first floor of the museum, dinosaur replicas and fossils of all kinds sprinkle the circular floor.

One of the largest dinosaur replicas on display is the bones of an Allosaurus, which stand over twelve feet high.

Children and adults also gathered around a skull of a Tyrannosaurus Rex in awe of the size and 13-inch sharp deathly teeth.

One of the newest and most exciting exhibits on display at the museum is “Joe” the baby dinosaur.

The dinosaur was discovered in Utah by one of the Webb students and is the youngest, smallest and most complete skeleton of a Parasaurolophus ever found.

Another replica on display that awed the guests was a plaster replica of a prehistoric alligator thats head was larger than the T-Rex’s.

“We try to serve the public in a different way,” Lofgren said.

“We enjoy educating people of all ages and encouraging the work that we do.”

Lofgren also teaches paleontologist classes for the Webb schools and is in charge of research development for the museum.

Downstairs, the museum features hands on exhibits for children and adults.

People can search in a pit of dirt for various fossils and can also recreate the skeleton of a dinosaur.

“I really love the hands on learning experience for my children,” Gina Soriano, Covina resident, said.

Soriano has brought her kids to the event three years in a row now.

“I love watching them make fossils and doing the other activities. They love it too.”

The first part of the event featured a lecture by paleontologist Dr. Farke.

The lecture was titled “Care and Feeding of a Baby Dinosaur.”

Farke also discussed the discovery of the baby dinosaur they found, and how it was issues in the Los Angeles Times.

Although this event is only once a year, the museum hosts multiple different events throughout the year.

The museum is also open Monday through Friday for general admission.

The next event held by the museum will take place on May 10, and is entitled The Ice Age.

It will display animals that lived during the ice age and the fossils they left behind.

Karleigh Neff can be reached at karleigh.neff@laverne.edu.

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