Big John, the largest triceratops skeleton ever found (he’s in the Guinness Book of Records) is making his North American debut by moving to his new home: Tampa Bay, but more specifically, the Glazer Children’s Museum!
Named after the South Dakota rancher on whose land he was found, Big John is 8 meters (26 feet) long, 3 meters (10 feet) tall, and about the size of an RV. He’s also surprisingly intact, with 60% of his body bones and 75% of skull present.
Big John is a recent find — 2014! He was found by Walter Stein, founder of PaleoAdventures, who are in the business of digging up fossils for commercial sale.
The Italian firm Zoic srl purchased Big John, after which they removed the rocks from his skeleton and replicated the missing bones using a combination of sculpting, casting and 3-D printing.
Big John then went on display in Europe and was put up for auction in 2021. He was purchased by the Pagidipati family of Tampa for almost $8 million. Rather than have it sit in a private collection which almost nobody would see, the Pagidipatis chose to find a place where everyone could see it, and that place is the Glazer Children’s Museum, located right on Tampa’s Riverwalk.
“Our interest in purchasing Big John and other specimens is first and foremost to make them available to
the public and for research,” said Siddhartha Pagidipati. We want to do our part to help the Tampa Bay area become the best place in our country for families to live and raise their children.”
You’d better believe there are big plans to show off Big John properly. He’s going to be the centerpiece of a brand new exhibit at the Glazer Children’s Museum, and I’ve included the exhibit designs in this article.
You won’t have to wait long to see Big John — his exhibit at the Glazer Children’s Museum will open on Memorial Day Weekend (Saturday, May 27th)!
Want to know more? The Tampa Bay Times has an article: Tampa’s Glazer Children’s Museum to receive record-setting dinosaur skeleton for new display.
What’s the Glazer Children’s Museum?
The Glazer Children’s Museum is Tampa’s children’s museum, located in downtown Tampa. It’s the home of a lot of interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and space to run around, climb, read, and make friends.
Children’s museums are important. They provide a place to learn and explore interests through hands-on experiences and activities. When you’re young, nothing expands your mind like interactivity that engages all the senses, and that’s something that children’s museums do very, very well.
The Glazer Children’s Museum’s mission is to serve the children of Tampa Bay by providing a clean, safe, and fun outlet for imagination and discovery.