My four-year-old granddaughter Ainsley loves fish, sea turtles, sharks and dinosaurs. Although when she started to talk she stumbled over certain words, she quickly learned the names of many dinosaurs – Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Brachiosaurus.
Naranjo Museum of Natural History in Lufkin, Texas is an excellent place to visit for a little girl interested in all things prehistoric. This small city of 35,000 offers its residents and visitors several museums. And the natural history museum is world-class if not in size, then in content.
Dr. Neal Naranjo began in 1960 to find and preserve dinosaur bones. With the exception of the T-Rex, every dinosaur fossil in the museum was found and excavated by Dr. Naranjo.
Ainsley is in awe from the moment she steps into the massive room with its subdued lighting. Past an animated dinosaur “Charlie” and along a pathway of beautiful displays of small fossils we walk. The museum is defiantly kid-friendly with display cases at a child’s height arranged below the larger exhibits. Ainsley slowly looks in each of the cases.
At the end of the first corridor, we turn the corner and there is a life size model of a Brachiosaurus. Just beyond is the T-Rex fossil model. They tower above us. Dinosaur fossils are arranged in a semi-circle around the area.
We pass a 26-foot tall Hadrosaur, a Einosaur mother with her baby and a fully-grown Woolly Mammoth to name a few. Ainsley is also fascinated with the dinosaur eggs as well as photos of Dr. Naranjo and his team unearthing the dinosaur fossils.
Another room offers amazing collections of everything from Revolutionary War and Roman artifacts to Cleopatra-era coins and Mayan relics. I want to linger here, but Ainsley is pulling my hand wanting to walk back past all the dinosaurs and prehistoric animal fossils.
It was definitely a successful grandmother/granddaughter road trip!
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