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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Dinosaurs move into Keswick museum

A Seaton engineer’s passion for the pre-historic has led him to take a break from work and open a museum dedicated to dinosaurs.

Colin Taylor, 51, of Camerton Road, has spent three years planning the Dinosaur and Raptor Experience, in Keswick, and 12 months getting the exhibits together.

Colin, whose day job is a maintenance engineer at Indorama in Siddick, Workington, has been given a leave of absence over the summer to pursue his dream.

The main exhibit will be Stan, a five-feet-long cast replica skull from a T-Rex discovered in Montana, USA.

There are only five other casts of the gigantic skull at museums around the country, including the Natural History Museum in London.

The attraction, on Otley Road, will also feature anatomically-correct models shipped from America and China, including a Velociraptor, made famous by Hollywood movie Jurassic Park.

Colin, who is also a falconer who has trained and bred birds of prey for more than 30 years, said: “Scientists have discovered that dinosaurs are actually ancestors of birds, not reptiles.

“I’ve always had a fascination with birds of prey so my fascination with dinosaurs grew from that.”

The exhibition is based in Keswick’s former mining museum and will also include Ice Age fossils of a sabre-toothed cat and a dire wolf.

There will be a fossilised woolly mammoth tusk and teeth, live birds of prey and an interactive area for children and information boards.

Colin added: “Films like Jurassic Park were scientifically incorrect. My aims are to give the county a taste of what dinosaurs were really like.

“We are a county with many tourists but not many exciting attractions and I felt it was time that West Cumbria had one.

“I know even ardent dinosaur fans would be able to learn something new by coming here.”

His son Jordan, 19, and step-son Max Cummings, 17, have helped him to transform the building.

His grandson Riley Underwood, three, has named all the models after characters in Disney films.

Colin hopes to expand his collection with full skeletons and moving life-size models.

The museum will open on May 25 from 10am to 5pm.

Admission costs £3.50 for children under 14 and £4.50 for adults.

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