Tens of thousands of Erie area residents and tourists to Presque Isle State Park have been transported back in time to the days of dinosaurs and other fearsome creatures, thanks to Mercyhurst University’s Sincak Natural History Exhibit. This year promises more of the same when the grand display of assorted fossils and casts opens Oct. 16 at Presque Isle’s Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC).
Exhibit Curator Scott McKenzie says this year’s show – World of Dinosaurs – features a complete Tyrannosaurus skeleton from the deserts of Mongolia. He said it will be free-standing and, in a word, “spectacular.”
McKenzie said the T-Rex cast will be the exhibit’s centerpiece until the end of November when it will be replaced with a full-scale Stegosaurus mother and baby alongside a fleshed-out raptor.
Each year, McKenzie works diligently to ratchet up the exhibit’s “wow factor” and he says this year will be no exception. “This exhibit will be a show-stopper extraordinaire and a sure-fire attraction for the whole family,” he said.
While the large specimens never cease to spark the wide eyes of children, other less sizeable items have their own special appeal. “We’ll have lots of real fossils; many never seen before in this exhibit,” McKenzie said.
Some of the fossils are borrowed from private collections. The casts, and most other pieces in Mercyhurst's collection, are provided by Michael and Barbara Sincak, who have spent more than 20 years traveling the globe to acquire specimens for their business and personal collections. The Sincaks own and operate Treasures of the Earth Ltd., near Johnstown, Pa.
The collection is maintained at Mercyhurst University and, until several years ago, had been exhibited annually at the university’s Cummings Art Gallery. With the growth and popularity of the exhibit, Mercyhurst has collaborated with TREC to provide the public a truly unprecedented experience on a grand scale.
As in recent years, the exhibit at TREC is free and open to all. It is available for viewing during TREC’s regular business hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. For more information about the exhibit, call McKenzie at 824-2382; or regarding viewing hours and related activities, call TREC at 833-7424. The exhibit is expected to run through mid-February.