These 1959 Barbies are part of the Grand Rapids Public Museum Toys! exhibit.

Nostalgia & T-Rex at the Center of Public Museum’s Fall Exhibits

Kids won’t be the only ones eager to check out the exhibits coming to the Grand Rapids Public Museum this fall. The museum announced two fall exhibits, Toys! and Expedition: Dinosaur.

Toys! is described as “an interactive, multi-generation exhibition of toys and games to rekindle childhood memories and spark the creation of new ones.”

Baby Boomers loved Paper Dolls, Erector Sets, and Mr. Potato Head, Gen Xers preferred Holly Hobbie and Hot Wheels, and Millennials have never known a world without Super Mario or My Little Pony. Some toys, like Barbie and G.I. Joe, have adapted to appeal to different generations and remain popular today. Toys and games have changed over time, but the desire to imagine, compete, and create has not.

This 1945 slinky is part of the Grand Rapids Public Museum's Toys! exhibit.
This 1945 slinky is part of the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Toys! exhibit.

This GRPM original exhibit features toys and games from the museum’s collections and on loan from the community. The exhibit will even include a 1980s style arcade.

The exhibition will be presented in both English and Spanish, and will also include Braille.

Museum members will have the first chance to see TOYS! during a special members-only preview on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The exhibit will open to the public following the preview.

Expedition: Dinosaur

Expedition: Dinosaur comes to the museum on Oct. 14. The exhibit features life-sized and lifelike animatronic dinosaurs- some controlled by visitors – to mechanical and electronic learning stations.

Visitors can learn about modern imaging techniques like high-energy neutron beams that reveal the inside of a T. Rex skull in microscopic detail never seen before. The exhibit includes a number of hands-on interactive stations that explain dinosaur movement, digestion, and evolution, and show the life and methods of dinosaur hunters from the 1800s to today.

Grand Rapids Public Museum brings Expedition: Dinosaur to Grand Rapids this fall.
Grand Rapids Public Museum brings Expedition: Dinosaur to Grand Rapids this fall.

This exhibit focuses on the science of paleontology. Exhibit developer Stage Nine Exhibitions engaged renowned paleontologist Dr. Thomas Williamson to consult and inform the exhibit. Williamson, curator of paleontology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, was featured in the PBS documentary “The Day The Dinosaurs Died.”

Special Events

The museum is hosting two special events in conjunction with the opening of the exhibit.

Breakfast with the Dinos is a special opportunity for up to 200 guests to be the first to view the exhibit. The breakfast takes place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tickets ($45) include first access to Expedition: Dinosaur and the entire museum, breakfast, a planetarium show and special activities.

An opening party will also be held on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The party will take over all three floors of the museum and will include additional activities only available on October 13.

Crack open Geodes with Dr. Diggs, see and touch fossil artifacts from the museum’s collections, brush and dig for dinosaurs in the excavation pool, and identify carnivorous and herbivorous dinosaurs based on their teeth.

Tickets to the Expedition: Dinosaur opening party are $18 for adults, $13 for children, $10 for member adults and $5 for member children. The opening party has limited capacity so get your tickets early.