Chicago's Field Museum to add Flying Reptiles, Gardens and World's Largest Dinosaur

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Chicago's Field Museum to unveil flying reptiles and world's largest dinosaur

The huge central hall at Chicago's Field Museum won't only soon be home to the touchable cast of a titanosaur, the biggest dinosaur ever discovered.

The museum said Wednesday that Stanley Field Hall also is getting a flock of life-size giant flying reptile replicas and a hanging garden. A T. rex named Sue has occupied the hall and will be moved upstairs starting Feb. 4. The gardens, flying reptiles and titanosaur will start going up soon afterward. Final installation is expected in May.

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The 122-foot-long titanosaur will take up a third of the museum's main hall and its head will peek over a 28-foot, second-floor balcony. Two of the flying reptile replicas have wing spans of 35 feet. The gardens will be made of 3D-printed plastic and more than 1,000 live plants.

The gardens, pterosaurs, titanosaur, and renovations to SUE are all made possible by Citadel CEO Kenneth C. Griffin, who's recently been in the news for purchasing Chicago's most expensive home ever.

Griffin's gift of $16.5 million signals the beginning of groundbreaking changes coming to the Museum in its 125th year. “Visiting The Field Museum has brought tremendous joy and wonder to my children and me over the years,” says Griffin. “I am proud to support such an outstanding institution so that children and families can better understand and appreciate dinosaurs and their history.”

The flock of pterosaurs (flying reptiles, NOT dinosaurs) will give visitors a lifelike look at the animals that shared the planet with the dinosaurs.

The pterosaur replicas include nine hawk-sized Rhamphorhynchus (ram-foh-RINK-us), two Pteranodon (teh-RAN-oh-don) with 18-foot-wingspans, and two giant Quetzalcoatlus (ket-zal-co-AHT-lus), whose spread wings stretch 35 feet. For context, 35 feet is about the length of a bus.

Read about: 10 Terrifying Flying Reptiles

In addition to the pterosaurs, Stanley Field Hall will also be home to new state-of-the-art hanging gardens. The gardens, which will be made of 3D-printed plastic and were co-designed by architect Daniel Pouzet and Field Museum Design Director Àlvaro Amat, will contain over 1,000 live plants, as well as additional lighting for the space. The four garden structures, the largest of which is 35 feet across, will be suspended from the hall’s ceiling and can be lowered to the ground during special events. The plants themselves will be hydroponic, growing in inert volcanic rock and receiving water and fertilizer from the ceiling.