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First Look: Natural History Museum's New Dinosaur Hall

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Chances are that if you visited the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles as a kid, the dinosaur skeletons in the center foyer of the building left a lasting first impression. How could you not be awed by the complete remains of prehistoric creatures locked in a fierce life-or-death battle?

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Beginning July 16, visitors will have even more dinosaur fossils and complete skeletons to wonder at when the museum's brand new 14,000-square-foot Dinosaur Hall opens to the public.

KCET was invited along with other members of the media to preview the near-finished project, which the museum's President Jane Pisano said took seven years to complete.

Stretching over two spacious galleries bathed in natural light are 20 complete articulated dinosaur skeletons, including those of the T. rex, Stegosaurus and a 68-foot-long Mamenchisaurus, among others.

Since pictures speak louder than words when dinosaurs are concerned, scroll down for a photographic tour of this impressive new addition to the museum:

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When entering the new hall you're greeted by full skeletons of a Triceratops and a massive, long-necked Mamenchisaurus. This Triceratops skeleton was found in Wyoming by the museum's Dinosaur Institute Director Luis Chiappe and his team.
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See dinosaur bones embedded in the rock as they were found by paleontologists.
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Individual bones are displayed beautifully in colorful, modern glass cases. Many of the installations include digital interactive screens which can provide much more information about the fossils.
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In one display, a Stegosaurus tries to defend itself against a predatory Allosaurus.
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The crown jewel of the hall is the T. rex growth series. This one of a kind trio shows a baby, a juvenile and an adult T. rex, the latter nicknamed "Thomas," after the discoverer's brother.
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Many of the bones on display in the new hall were discovered and excavated by the museum's own paleontologists and scientists.
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An installation showing bones and fossils of the animals and vegetation that were in existence in the age of the dinosaurs.
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An interesting addition to the exhibit, this is a handwritten journal kept by paleontologist and Dinosaur Institute Director, Dr. Luis Chiappe.

All photos by Michelle Lanz

Want to win a pair of tickets to see the new Dinosaur Hall? We will choose a random winner from those who answer the following trivia question correctly. Leave your answer in the comments below!

During what period did the Tyrannosaurus Rex roam the earth?

A.) Triassic

B.) Cretaceous

C.) Jurassic

D.) Permian

Contest ends 7/14/2011 at 5pm!