Giant T-Rex Gets Permanent Exhibit at South Florida Science Center
A colossal dinosaur stands watch at the South Florida Science Center & Aquarium's entrance. (Photo by Pedro Penalver)

There’s been a traveling exhibit of dinosaurs at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium for about six months that has broken all revenues and attendance records at the center. Now a new permanent dinosaur exhibit was unveiled on Thursday, so every science enthusiast can continue enjoying and understanding more about these bold and mysterious animals.

The giant Tyrannosaurus Rex that trekked across South Florida from south Miami-Dade County to find a permanent spot in our city at the entrance of the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. This 28-foot Rex is a gift from Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) for a new chapter after decades of service as the beloved mascot at FPL’s Turkey Point power plant near the southernmost edge of Miami-Dade County.

The new resident dinosaur was assembled at the South Florida Science Center for about two weeks, becoming by far the most popular and photographed exhibit among visitors.

During decades, this gigantic Rex—built out of steel, stucco and aluminum glass by a couple of locals in Hialeah back in 1968—became more than a symbol of power but rather a community symbol.

“Known as the T-Rex to our employees, the statue was a familiar face for our employees and visitors daily, and often starred in our family photos and in a lot of Christmas cards as well.” said Don Kiselewski, Sr. Director of External Affairs for Florida Power & Light Company. “The dinosaur ultimately became the symbol of that community, so that’s why the Science Center is the perfect continent for this member of the FPL family, serving as an educational tool so visitors can learn about FPL’s history in Florida’s history and hopefully inspire lots of children to continue learning.”

After being damaged by Hurricane Andrew, the FPL’s T-rex received an upgrade. Most recently before the unveiling at this new residence, she received some freshening up from local artist Sharon Koskoff, a public mural artist, designer, educator, community organizer, and preservationist who has multiple artworks throughout the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium.

Koskoff teamed up with other local artists and painted the FPL’s T-rex from a big truck to bring her alive as a permanent installation for years to come.

The refurbished version of the plant’s original dinosaur from 1968 will fit with the other dinosaurs in the center’s annual Dinosaur Invasion exhibit.

There will be an online contest to give the large theropod a name and the public is invited to participate through this link: www.surveymonkey.com/r/dinonaming.

If you visit, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is located at 4801 Dreher Trail N and is open daily, Monday through Friday from 9 to 5, Saturday and Sunday, from 9 to 6. You will find information about other exhibits and special events in their website: www.sfsciencecenter.org.