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Louisville’s resident triceratops celebrate one-year on display

The popular triceratops statue has returned to the public eye at the Kentucky Science Center.
J. Tyler Franklin
Lottie the triceratops is celebrating one year back on display at the Kentucky Science Center.

Lottie the triceratops made her triumphant return to the Kentucky Science Center a year ago. To celebrate, science center staff planned a Dino Day.

For decades, Lottie the triceratops welcomed visitors to the Kentucky Science Center. From her perch in the center’s parking lot, she sat through sun, rain, and floods. Over time, she began to fossilize. Then, like her ancestors, she disappeared.

That is, until last year when the Kentucky Science Center restored Lottie to her former glory. On Sunday, the science center is hosting a first birthday party to commemorate the event.

“Lottie is a huge staple to our culture and kind of just what we stand for as a Kentucky Science Center and just as a community,” said Kentucky Science Center Manager of Special Events Olivia Alexander.

Lottie stands for “Louisville’s own triceratops.” Back in 1964, Sinclair Oil Corporation commissioned Lottie and other dinosaurs as part of a display at the World’s Fair in New York. She bounced around a couple places in Louisville until landing at the science center in 1979.

That’s where Lottie stayed until 2008, when the science center put the triceratops into storage while doing some construction.

Lottie roared back onto the scene last year, and now she’s ready to celebrate. The activities planned for Dino Day align with the hands-on mission of the science center.

“Most excitingly, we have a barosaurus dinosaur femur bone that people can come and touch, and literally touch, and see and learn about while they're here,” said Taylor U’Sellis, Kentucky Science Center’s senior communications manager.

A large femur bone sits on display on top of counter made of wood with a stone top. It belonged to barosaurus dinosaur.
Breya Jones
Dino Day attendees will be able to see and touch a real barosaurus bone.

Alexander said the science center tries to promote free exploration for children as a means to facilitate learning.

“We let kids roam free like kids run, there's no rules,” Alexander said.

The hands-on experience is a key part of the science center experience.

“We just want to provide the most positive learning experience that isn't centered around sitting at a desk, listening to someone talk at you, rather than you being able to touch things and learn about things at your own pace,” she said.

Attendees will also be able to dig for fossils, make dinosaur puppets and go on a treasure hunt through the science center. U’Sellis said dinosaurs capture children’s imaginations very well.

“Imagining what it would have been like to witness a dinosaur — which was bigger than this building — is captivating,” U’Sellis said. “And just thinking about what the world the planet was, like, 145 million years ago. It's cool.”

Alexander said that dinosaurs can feel almost fictional in nature when children get to read about them in school, but seeing them in person helps build connections.

“They're magical to read about and hear the stories. But there's no cold, hard proof until you come to the science center and get to touch an actual bone,” Alexander said.

Dino Day is Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is included as part of regular admission.

Support for this story was provided in part by the Jewish Heritage Fund.

News Youth Reporting
Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

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