"Hatorfim" (Predators) - Dinosaur exhibition at the Land of Israel Museum, Tel Aviv. Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday and Saturday: 10:00-20:00; Friday: 10:00-16:00. Entrance fee: NIS 50 for a combined adult-child ticket (including entrance to the museum's other pavilions until 15:00 (Wednesdays until 17:00 and Fridays until 14:00).
Ever since the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) produced the "Walking with Dinosaurs" television series, in which dinosaurs are shown walking, eating and playing like animals in any other nature program, the dinosaur skeletons in museums of natural history have paled in comparison. The TV series used the skeletons reconstructed by paleontologists and breathed life into them, using computerized imagery and scientific knowledge. The results were amazing - giant lizards caught their prey with razor-sharp teeth, drank water from a lake and wandered about in desert landscapes. Everything was done so realistically that the series' creators won the British prize for best TV documentary.
Even so, there is a difference between seeing something on the TV and experiencing it up close at a museum. The Land of Israel Museum has set up a special pavilion to house the huge robotic reconstructions, which were imported from the museum of natural history in London. These dinosaurs roar like creatures from 60 million years ago (even though, according to "Walking with Dinosaurs" and Disney's "Dinosaur," dinosaurs do not roar, instead emitting a hollow type of sound), and move like their ancestors, on a "digitized backdrop and computerized lighting," in the words of the explanatory brochure.
Behind these flashy phrases is a pyrotechnic performance that removes the animals from their natural context. The exhibition is quite limited, and the long walk under the burning sun along the museum's paths to the dinosaur pavilion may be a bit much for some of the younger visitors. After seeing the few reconstructions and reading the explanatory material about them, which doesn't take long, visitors move on to a playroom where there are Sony Playstations and a few other games that teach very little about dinosaurs. In one game, for example, a child can put his hand into a pocket and guess which part of the dinosaur he is touching.
It seems that the most developed part of the exhibition is the souvenir and toy store, which sells toys, books, writing implements, tapes and other items connected with dinosaurs. There is no choice but to make a stop at this store, as visitors are led there straight after the exhibition. Outside the store, there is a commercial event, with clowns and a golden opportunity to purchase hamburgers and french fries.
The entrance fee includes entry into the rest of the museum's pavilions, but only during the day. NIS 50 for an adult (including one child, but not including the cost of the toys that parents will have to buy for their children) is an awful lot to pay for such a dismal exhibition.
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