Dippy, the UK’s most famous dinosaur, is ready to greet visitors to the Ulster Museum today as the long-awaited Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure exhibition opens to the public.

The Natural History Museum’s iconic 26-metre-long Diplodocus cast arrives in Northern Ireland fresh from Birmingham where a staggering figure of more than 255,000 visitors went to see him.  His Belfast visit will be the only chance to see Dippy on the island of Ireland.

Thousands of free tickets have already been booked to see Dippy on Tour at the Ulster Museum and anyone planning to visit is strongly encouraged to book tickets online at nmni.com/dippy

Director of the Natural History Museum, Sir Michael Dixon says: “The public response to Dippy so far has been fantastic. Over a quarter of a million people visited him in Birmingham – whilst he tripled the annual number of visitors to Dorset County Museum in under three months. The local communities in both Dorset and Birmingham have reported impressive economic gains as a result though most importantly of all, our beloved Diplodocus cast has been doing sterling ambassadorial work for the natural world, encouraging people to engage with the nature on their doorstep. I’m delighted to be attending Dippy’s unveiling in Belfast where I have every confidence he will continue to inspire the next generation of inquisitive minds.”

Dippy, a plaster cast of the fossilised bones of a Diplodocus found by railroad workers in Wyoming, USA in 1898, took a full week to build by a team of four technicians and two conservators from the Natural History Museum.  At the Ulster Museum he will sit within an exhibition which explores the uniqueness of our natural world and biodiversity across the island of Ireland, and visitors can discover why so few dinosaur fossils have ever been found here.

Kathryn Thomson, Chief Executive of National Museums NI, said: “Dippy is finally here and we can’t wait for visitors to meet him.”

“We’re thrilled to be the only venue in Ireland to be hosting the iconic dinosaur and we hope that after seeing Dippy visitors are inspired to explore, discover and protect the nature on their doorstep.

“Dippy starts a vital conversation about the importance of understanding and caring for our natural world and it’s great to make the connection with our own unique and extensive natural science collections, some of which will sit alongside him.”

Dippy on Tour: A Natural History Adventure has been brought about by the Natural History Museum, in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation and supported by Dell EMC and Williams & Hill.

Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, says: “We are delighted that Dippy has enjoyed hugely impactful stays in Dorset and Birmingham. We are thrilled to help bring him to Northern Ireland, his first time across the Irish sea! Dippy on Tour is a wonderful way to celebrate our 60th year working in partnership with inspiring charities across the United Kingdom and we hope to work with more in Ireland in the future.”

Belfast is the third stop on an eight-venue-tour over almost three years which aims to introduce 1.5 million people to this fascinating exhibit, to inspire the next generation of scientists and to encourage families to explore nature on their doorstep.

Highlights from National Museums’ NI own collection in the exhibition include:

  • Pieces of bone from Ireland’s only dinosaurs
  • Ireland’s Lost Monsters – the fossil evidence of some of the ‘monsters’ that lived here not so long ago but are now extinct. Paintings, by renowned local wildlife artist Julian Friers, of how woolly mammoth, giant deer, brown bear and others might once have looked, will be displayed for the very first time.
  • From Whales to Snails – a display of some of the largest and smallest animals seen in and around the island of Ireland
  • Ireland’s Special Places – highlighting Ireland’s most special habitats and the unique plants and animals that live there
  • Displays of bugs, birds and mammals that live on our island.

There will also be a supporting programme of exciting events and activities to accompany Dippy on Tour including science workshops for families, Dippy at Dark events, guided tours, Dippy in-depth talks, films, late night sessions and bespoke dining experiences.

The exhibition will be at the Ulster Museum until 6 January 2019.

Tickets to the Dippy on Tour exhibition are free.  To make a booking and for further information on the exhibition and associated events, visit nmni.com/dippy

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