Dinosaurs in the spotlight in latest Duthie Park workshops

A successful series of children's workshops will get underway in Duthie Park again today (Monday July 20), exploring the dramatic period of the dinosaurs.

Youngsters turned out in force last week for the free activities, organised by the University of Aberdeen's Natural History Centre.

They form part of celebrations to mark the birth of the great 19th century scientist Charles Darwin and another exciting week of new activities is planned.

This time the era of the dinosaurs will be in focus and children will have the chance to look at replicas of bones and eggs, dating from the period when the giant creatures roamed the earth.

Week two of the three-week long programme will take the theme Evolution of life on earth from molecules to man, looking at how life has changed over the eons and the dramatic time of the dinosaurs.

The skull of an Albertasaurus, the smaller cousin of the more famous Tyrannosaurus Rex, will be on display together with a Psittacosaurus, a parrot faced dinosaur, and Protoceratops eggs.

Another highlight, on display in the education room, will be a model of the landscape as it was when the Rhynie Cherts were formed. The Rhynie Cherts, containing exceptionally preserved plant, fungus, lichen and animal material, were discovered near the village of Rhynie.

Youngsters will also be able to follow a trail through the winter gardens featuring plants that were around at the time of the dinosaurs and will have the opportunity to make dinosaur related crafts and pot up a prehistoric fern to take home with them.

To bring the Jurassic era to life, Scottish storyteller Pauline Cordiner will make a guest appearance on Wednesday from 2pm to 4pm, entertaining participants with tales of monsters and mythical beings. On Thursday, from 2pm to 4pm, Satrosphere will also present their monster minibeasts.

For those with an interest in conserving the planet, Thursday will offer an opportunity to contribute to 'green fuel'. Visitors will be asked to eat a banana, donated by The Scottish Co-Operative, and the skins will be kept, blackened and used to make barbecue briquettes which will form part of the fun at next week's sessions.

Marie Fish, Education Officer at the Natural History Centre, said: "This is an opportunity for children to learn about the time of the dinosaur, the evolution of life and the process of natural extinction.

"There will be a lot of exciting information revealed that will appeal to children of all ages and adults alike."

The giant poster collection will remain on display in the Foyer of the Winter Gardens. It is made up of the artistic work of almost 700 secondary school students who entered the centre's 'Location, Relocation' competition, which asked them to consider how animals could adapt to different environments.