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The world’s largest triceratops is moving to Tampa Bay!

Profile view of Big John, a triceratops skeleton.
Photo courtesy of Glazer Children’s Museum.
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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!

Banner: “Big John the Triceratops — 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.

Walter Stein poses beside one of Big John’s bones in the area where the skeleton was found.
Walter Stein poses beside one of Big John’s bones.
Photo courtesy of Glazer Children’s Museum.
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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.

A lab worker works on one of Big John’s horns.
One of Big John’s horns.
Photo courtesy of Glazer Children’s Museum.
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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.

Head-on view of Big John, a triceratops skeleton.
Photo courtesy of Glazer Children’s Museum.
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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.

Detail view of the skull and horns of Big John, a triceratops skeleton.
Photo courtesy of Glazer Children’s Museum.
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“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.”

Artist’s concept illustration of the Big John exhibit for the Glazer Children’s Museum: “Big John Reveal”.
Illustration courtesy of Glazer Children’s Museum.
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Artist’s concept illustration of the Big John exhibit for the Glazer Children’s Museum: “Big John Side View”.
Illustration courtesy of Glazer Children’s Museum.
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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.

Artist’s concept illustration of the Big John exhibit for the Glazer Children’s Museum: A long hallway with displays about Big John.
Illustration courtesy of Glazer Children’s Museum.
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Artist’s concept illustration of the Big John exhibit for the Glazer Children’s Museum: A long hallway with displays about Big John.
Illustration courtesy of Glazer Children’s Museum.
Tap to view at fill size.
Artist’s concept illustration of the Big John exhibit for the Glazer Children’s Museum: A tunnel where visitors can see and touch dinosaur bones embedded in rock.
Illustration courtesy of Glazer Children’s Museum.
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Artist’s concept illustration of the Big John exhibit for the Glazer Children’s Museum: “Who Weighs More?” - a scale where people can compare their weight to the weight of Big John’s skull.
Illustration courtesy of Glazer Children’s Museum.
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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 front of the Glazer Children’s Museum.
The front of the Glazer Children’s Museum.
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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.

Need a kid-friendly summary of the triceratops? Click here, or click the pic!

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.

2 replies on “The world’s largest triceratops is moving to Tampa Bay!”

At least this museum is being open and honest with “Children’s” in the name. Far, far too many museums these days are pretty much “children’s museums”. I so miss old-time museums with a real density of information to lose an afternoon examining. Now they’re all like spending five minutes in PlayMobil land.

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