Jackson's words: Dinosaur and Volcano
Jackson loved the Science Center back home in St. Louis. All the fun things to do and touch, the big spaces, And that big T Rex! H
e thought with a grin.
It was the dinosaur exhibit he was most eager to see as he and his family stepped into the Chicago Field Museum. The huge entrance hall with two, real, stuffed elephants made him want to run, but his dad, foreseeing the urge, had already taken hold of his hand.
The displays of lions, tigers, and bears were exciting but his feet itched to move into the section with the dinosaurs. Real bones he’d been told. “Taller than our house” his Gramma said. “Teeth as big as you,” his Grampa described.
Stopping in front of a display of pink flamingos he sighed as his sister, Avery, giggled and waved. With a small grin he envisioned the flamingos scattering as a raptor ran among them snapping his large, sharp teeth.
Entering the next section of the large museum, Jackson’s eyes did widen as a large screen hung just inside the entrance. Displayed on the screen was an erupting volcano. Glowing bits of bright red and orange leapt into the air and then joined the flows burning their way down the side of the mountain. Trees burst into flame as the lava cut its path. As his parents smiled at his wide eyed stare, Jackson imagined dinosaurs running from the hot, glowing lava as it chased right behind them.
The section held stones of every kind, from boring granite slabs to glow in the dark crystals of many colors. Jackson enjoyed putting his eyes to the peep holes as his mom or dad hit the button which turned off the light and let him see the green, blue, purple, orange, and yellow, stones which shone in their dark little boxes. Jackson imagined each as dinosaur eyes looking back at him.
He was thrilled several minutes later when his dad turned wide eyed toward his son and pointed toward a sign. Several large words where printed there but Jackson only had eyes for the picture of a brontosaurus skeleton right above it. He stepped forward with a start. His mom quickly grabbed his hand but allowed herself to be drug along as he hurried toward the door next to the sign.
Barely through the doorway, Jackson froze as he stared into the long, high room in front of him. Braced on metal poles and hanging from cables which were bolted to the high ceiling were the assembled bones of a dozen dinosaurs. As large as his Gramma had described, the skeletons stood around a number of walkways which snaked between the ancient giants.
The skeleton of a Brontosaurus like the one pictured on the sign beside the entrance had been placed nearest to where Jackson stood. His eyes eagerly scanned the room until, at the far end, he saw the bones of the T Rex, its large skull turned toward him. The skeleton of the ferocious beast held its ground at the room’s exit, the empty holes where his eyes once had been seemed menacing.
As his mom gently urged him forward, Jackson’s eyes moved back to the Brontosaurus and tracked the view from the bones of the skeleton’s feet, up the tall legs, over its wide ribs and to the long neck. Up his gaze continued until it finally reached the skull which hung nearer the ceiling than any of the others. Avery too, in her father’s arms, stared around the room as they followed her brother and mother into the large, wonderfully filled space.
They almost came to a stop beneath the Brontosaurus’s neck which stretched over them like the branch of a large, strange tree. Jackson’s mom instead was tugged forward as he noticed the Triceratops skeleton which next stood in the room. Remembering the injured and dying version of a Triceratops panting at the feet of the T Rex back in the St. Louis Science Center, Jackson stepped toward the monstrous form.
Stopping next to the beast’s large, right foot, he stared at the giant bones which at one time had allowed a real, living dinosaur to walk, breathe, and eat. He looked at the huge bony collar which had once shielded the large plant eater from the larger meat eaters that wandered the ancient world in which he lived.
Barely aware that he was still holding his mother’s hand, Jackson’s eyes suddenly widened further as the huge head of the Triceratops turned toward the far end of the large room. Jackson gasped as the large head swung. His eyes reluctantly shifted toward the ceiling as plaster fell from around the anchor for the cable holding the Triceratops’s heavy skull. The skeleton’s head had nearly pulled the anchor free.
Suddenly a larger noise came from the other end of the room. Jackson turned and saw the tall skeleton of the T Rex. It too was moving and the cables that had held it in place had been pulled from the ceiling and were crashing against the floor. As he watched, the skeleton began hurrying across the section of the room between it and them. Jackson’s mouth opened in wonder as the Triceratops pulled himself free from the cables as well and ran away. It moved fast but the T Rex was quicker. Soon the two were nose to nose. The T Rex opened his mouth looking like he might roar but Jackson heard nothing but his quick breaths and the rattle of ancient bones as he watched the two beasts face one another.
Twice the T Rex lunged and bounced away from the Triceratops’s shielding collar. As the Triceratops attacked with a whip of his tail however, the T Rex lunged again, this time biting onto several of the smaller dinosaur’s ribs. It bit and shook its head, pulling the Triceratops off its feet. He released and as the wounded animal fell over, the skeleton of the T Rex lifted its head. This time, as its huge jaws opened, Jackson heard…
“What do you think Jackson?”
Looking away from the Triceratops, which was still anchored to the museum’s floor and ceiling, he tightened his grip on his mother’s hand and answered, “Wow!”