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Sleeping with the dinosaurs

05-30-2011 10:53 BJT

When Huang Enzhi opened her eyes early on Sunday morning, the first thing she saw was a 24-meter-long blue whale suspended in the air above her head.

Animal expert Zhang Jinshuo leads visitors on a twighlight tour of the National
Zoological Museum in Beijing on Sunday as part of the Night at the Museum program.
Zou Hong / China Daily

Next to the 6-year-old's tent stood a long-necked Mamenchisaurus, a plant-eating dinosaur that roamed the Earth about 145 million years ago.

"How wonderful it is to wake up with such amazing animals," said Huang after spending the night "camping out" with her mother Wu Bin at the National Zoological Museum in Chaoyang district.

The duo was among 45 people - mostly young couples - who enjoyed a real Night at the Museum, an event inspired by the Hollywood hit organized by the museum and, a social networking website for science fans.

Wu, who traveled with her daughter from Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, told METRO Huang was too excited to sleep and spent much of the night running through the exhibition hall in shorts and slippers. "It was really interesting and educational," she added.

Visitors were able to camp anywhere they liked, such as next to a display of Milu deer or underneath the wings of Japanese crested ibis.

"We wanted to provide the experience of visiting the museum at night, after closing time," said Huang Chengming, deputy director of the museum. "You can sleep here next to your favorite animals. It's very different from a night in bed or in the wild."

The three-story National Zoological Museum has 6,000 kinds of animals on show, most of which are or were indigenous to China. One collection features 2,300 species of butterfly.

On Sunday, the fun started with Mysterious Island, an exciting "4D" movie during which the ecstatic audience was sprayed with water and tossed about in moving chairs.

Zhang Jinshuo, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' institute of zoology, then spoke on the animals in the film before leading a humorous and informative torch tour of the museum's main exhibits.

"It was such an adventure, full of fun and knowledge," said Erdem Gulen, 30, who enjoyed the event with his girlfriend, 25-year-old Li Yutong.

The Turkish trader arrived in China four years ago. Although he has read extensively on China's wealth of wildlife, he said he was amazed by Zhang's detailed presentation in the darkness.

"It's really great to rise in the morning and find that, to get washed, you need to walk past dinosaurs," he said, as he ate breakfast facing the whales.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: China Daily

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