Help us help you: Name our new paleontological pal and win a guided tour of the new Hall of Paleontology!

By now you all should be acquainted with our new mascot:

T-Rex Trying to fit in!

He’ll be hanging out with us for the indefinite future, and it occurred to us that it might be polite to give him a name.

Well, that hasn’t gone smoothly, as you might imagine. In fact, the entire process reminds me of the infamous family shutout of ’92, when my sister was incubating and my two name suggestions — Maleficent for a girl, Pooch Patrol for a boy, naturally — were vetoed without so much as a vote.

Although in hindsight I think “Annie” does have a nicer ring, I’m dedicated to making this naming exercise a touch more fair. And that’s where you guys come in!

Here are the contest details: Leave a comment either here or on HMNS’ Facebook page with your suggestion of a name for our new spokes-dino. The top five submissions (read: our most favorite) will be selected by our online team, and then put to a vote on Facebook. The winner will get a guided tour for four of the new Hall of Paleontology — with more than 3 billion years and hundreds of species to cover, don’t you think you want a docent?

The power of social media is yours to harness, so use it!

The name nomination contest ends Friday at 5 p.m., so get your thinking caps on and come up with something our tireless T. rex can be proud of — just don’t ask him for a high five.

Harry Potter Midnight Madness at HMNS!

This post is from Julia, the HMNS Education department’s resident Harry Potter expert.

Finally! <3
Creative Commons License photo credit: worak

Harry has spent the last 6 years at Hogwarts uncovering the truth of his past and discovering his monumental role in defeating You-Know-Who, and it’s finally come down to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!

Harry, Ron, and Hermione have set out to finish the task Dumbledore started: find and destroy Voldemort’s horcruxes. Without his horcruxes, Voldemort can finally be defeated by The Chosen One, putting an end to the epic battle between good and evil that has plagued the wizarding world for decades.

But it’s no easy task. As Voldemort and his followers gain control of the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts, Harry, Ron, and Hermione face numerous obstacles from curses and hexes to Death Eaters to the sometimes dwindling faith and doubts they have in one another. However, throughout his journey Harry realizes that he has the full support of the wizarding world and is not alone in his quest to stop the Dark Lord once and for all. Witches and wizards around the world are joining together to stop Voldemort and the Death Eaters in their vengeful plot to take over the entire wizarding world.

So, now it’s our turn to show Harry our support! If you’ve been a dedicated follower of The Boy Who Lived from his first year at Hogwarts you can’t stop now!

Come to the Houston Museum of Natural Science on November 18 at 10:30pm for a Harry Potter Midnight Madness premiere party that will surely give Harry Potter fans something to celebrate! With live animal presentations that would make Hagrid proud (although there are no dragons or hippogriffs), tasty treats that would leave the Weasley boys satisfied, and potions demonstrations that even Snape would approve of, you have to be here! And don’t forget about the costume contest complete with fabulous prizes and Harry Potter trivia for the true HP fan to test their knowledge! It’s all happening right here for the 12:01am screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. So where should you be for the beginning of the end? Why the Houston Museum of Natural Science of course!

Here are few details for the Costume Contest:

To enter the costume contest you must arrive, in costume, by 10:45pm to register at the table just inside the main entrance to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Once registered you will receive a number; this is the order in which you will be called before the panel of judges. Each participant will be judged based on the ABC’s of great costumes: Authenticity, Believability and Creativity! Judges will score each participant and we will award the prizes just before the start of the 12:01am movie for each of the winners – Best Adult Male, Best Adult Female, Best Male under 13 years old, Best Female under 13 years old. So dust off your dress robes and we’ll see you at HMNS for the Harry Potter Midnight Madness Costume Contest!


Got 5 minutes? Win an iPod Touch!

Editor note: This survey has already finished. The winner has already been selected and the iPod touch has been given away.

iPod 2.0
Win an iPod Touch!
Creative Commons License photo credit: agjimenez

If you’ve visited our mothership lately, you may have noticed a bright new banner at the top of the home page. It’s there because we’re interested in you – and in discovering what you like to do online, so that we can develop our web site and online programs to better serve your interests and needs.  We’ve designed a very brief – promise! – survey to help us learn more about your interests when it comes to technology and how it’s integrated into your lifestyle.

At just 11 questions, this very short survey should take less than 5 minutes to complete. Your answers will be invaluable as we continue to develop our online programs, in order to better serve you and all of our visitors.

To say thank you, we’re giving away an iPod Touch! By completing the survey, you’re entered to win – easy as that! (You can also check out the full rules for the drawing here.)

Thank you very much for your feedback – and for reading our blog!

Blog Contest: Draw a Dinosaur!

Leonardo da Vinci said: “I don’t understand a thing ‘till I draw it.” When you draw, your finger tips teach your brain what’s important.”

Dr. Bakker paraphrased Leonardo da Vinci in his recent post, Draw Dinos Right, to explain why great  paleontologists tend to be great artists, too. Now that the world premiere of Dinosaur Mummy CSI: Cretaceous Science Investigation is open at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, you can test this hypothesis on another Leonardo – the mummified dinosaur that was found in Malta, MT, with skin and internal organs preserved. And when you do, you can enter to win great paleo prizes – like a signed dinosaur drawing by Dr. Robert T. Bakker himself – as well as a $200 gift certificate to Texas Art Supply, for all your future dino-drawing needs.

The contest is simple: pick a dinosaur and draw it for us. In this video, Dr. Bakker takes you through drawing a T. rex – but your entry can be any dinosaur you like. On Nov. 1, Dr. Bakker will choose one winner for each of two categories – one for scientific accuracy, and another for artistic effect.

So, head on over to the drawing board – you’ve got until Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. to enter.

Entries must be no larger than 11 x 17 inches and they can be turned in to the Museum Services desk at the Museum or scanned and submitted online to blogadmin@hmns.org. Make sure to include your name, phone number and e-mail address with your entry – otherwise, we’ll have no way to contact you if you’ve won. Two identical prizes will be awarded – one to recognize the most scientifically accurate dinosaur drawing and the other to honor the best artisitc effect. Click here for contest rules.

UPDATE: Our winners have been posted! Along with a slideshow of all of the fabulous entries – a huge thank you to all the very talented kids who entered.