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January 13, 2000

Governor Announces Grant For "Dinosaur Giants" At Navy Pier

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that the state of Illinois has awarded a $50,000 grant to help Navy Pier host "Dinosaur Giants", an interactive attraction featuring the work of renowned Chicago paleontologist Dr. Paul Sereno.

"Dr. Sereno's discoveries are known throughout the world," the Governor said. "This unique display will create excitement at Navy Pier during the winter months, and provide educational and fun activities for the entire family."

The exhibit will be in place for two months, January 14 through March 19, and will be displayed in Navy Pier's Crystal Gardens in a setting that evokes the dinosaurs' habitat, complete with palm trees and fountains. Mounted in the center of the Crystal Gardens will be huge four-legged plant-eaters. Attacking the plant-eaters will be a 35-foot long meat-eating dinosaur, Afrovenator, that was discovered on an earlier expedition by Dr. Sereno.

Panels and real fossil bones in cases are designed to engage visitors. The head and neck cross-section will show what the dinosaur looked like in life, and interlocking foam bone replicas will allow families to reconstruct part of the huge skeleton.

"Dinosaurs continue to fascinate people of all ages. As a mother of three school-age children, I know dinosaurs are a particular draw for youths," said Lieutenant Governor Corinne Wood. "I hope people throughout the region will take this opportunity to come to Chicago and see this exhibit."

The $50,000 grant is administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA).

"This event promises to be highly successful, and a good return on our investment," said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. "The Tourism Private Sector Grant Program funds events that generate significantly increased economic impact for the state, and these innovative exhibits offered at no charge to the public promise to translate into increased tourism dollars spent in the Chicago area this winter."

The program was created in 1994, and has funded such major events as World Cup Soccer, the Democratic National Convention, and International Pow Wow '98. Attracting and hosting these types of major, world class events generate increase overnight stays and travel into and throughout the state.

Private sector grants can provide up to 50 percent of eligible costs associated with attracting and hosting events, with the remaining costs financed by private sector funds.


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