Photo Essay: Dozing with Dinos



By Amelia Moore

Pup tents are being pitched under the patient gaze of water buffalo; American Indian warriors look on as a troop of Cub Scouts excitedly drag their sleeping bags on their way to the Pawnee Earth Lodge; and warthogs frozen in fighting positions are oblivious to the air mattresses being inflated just meters away.

Welcome to Dozin’ with the Dinos – an overnight event hosted by the Field Museum in Chicago for the last 17 years. On Jan. 12, the over-night began at 6 p.m., after the museum officially closed. Families were let in through side entrances and guided by museum officials through the exhibits, Mammals of Asia, Eskimos and Northwest Coast Indians, Ancient Egypt, and The Nature Walk, to seek out an appropriate place to make camp for the night.

After a brief orientation by Colonel Patterson, an actor portraying the famous killer of the man-eating lions of Tsavo, the over-nighters are given free-range of the museum and eight different workshops.

Below the skeleton of the famous Tyrannosaurus rex named Sue, children fold origami, make newspaper samurai hats and hold a 20-year-old living tarantula in the palm of their hand while their friends look on with horror and disgust.

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Families and groups scatter throughout the museum with flashlights, holding hands.

“When the lights are out and you peer into a tomb with only your flashlight to see by – that’s cool!” exclaimed Alexander Pool, 10, of Oswego, Ill.

The Pool family has attended this event annually for years, but for a lot of kids this is their first time with this kind of an experience. “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Jacob, 12, of St. Charles, Ill., while laying down a sleeping bag between glass display cases containing primitive tools and American Indian weapons.

At 9 p.m., there are no temper tantrums, whining or stomping from the 700 children. Everyone is too entertained by workshops, exhibits and wandering characters.

A general feeling of calm awe permeates the Field Museum late into the night, while Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex watches majestically over her guests.