A World of Dinosaurs
At Tingby manor right outside Kalmar, visitors are swept many millions of years back in time. This is where we find A World of Dinosaurs – the largest dinosaur museum in Europe.
The museum opened in 2013, and has grown each year ever since. When the museum reopens again on Midsummer’s day, 2021, visitors will be invited to see over 200 skeletons, and full-size, “live” dinosaurs. 50 of them are newly introduced this year.
– In order to give visitors an idea of how the dinosaurs lived and what they looked like, we've built environments with “live” animatronic dinosaurs that breathe, move and roar in a very realistic way. It's very exciting for both children and grown-ups to suddenly stand eye to eye with a T-Rex, says Roland Wiberg, founder of the museum.
A world of dinosaurs is a childhood dream, and you made it come true. How was that idea born?
– The first time I heard about dinosaurs was in school. I got hooked immediately, and started daydreaming about having my own dinosaur museum. But as I grew older, I realized in my teens that it could probably never be more than a dream.
How come the dream still became real?
– My passion for dinosaurs stayed strong, and I started collecting fossils during my travels. I also came into contact with other people who shared my interest. When I met animatronics specialists, it sparked the idea to buy “live” dinosaurs. Later on, I had the opportunity to combine them with dinosaur skeletons and fossils. That's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and that's when I made up my mind.
How do you ensure the dinosaurs become as realistic as possible?
– We've been able to combine the latest scientific findings with a great deal of technical know-how. It was much more complex to build the exhibition than I could have ever imagined as a child. It does take up a great deal of space, and it was a very complicated puzzle to assemble the amazing dinosaurs and skeletons.
We've built environments with “live” animatronic dinosaurs that breathe, move and roar in a very realistic way.
Why do you think dinosaurs are fascinating to so many people?
– It's an incredibly exciting period in the history of our planet, and the fact that no one has seen a dinosaur, but know that they did exist probably tickles our imagination even more. Barely 200 years ago, no one knew about them. But today, dinosaurs are known throughout the world and that is an amazing success, wouldn’t you say?
In 2020, you were unfortunately forced to close due to the pandemic. How do you prepare for the season of 2021?
– We do what we have always done: we spend the time we are closed expanding the exhibition with even more finds. The difference is that by now, we have almost a year and a half to do it, and therefore we can offer the greatest expansion since our first opening.
Through the years you've had the opportunity to visit multiple fossil sites around the world. Would you mind telling us a bit about that?
– One site which I have visited on multiple occasions, and have developed an amazing relationship to is in the Sichuan Province in China. Among the many people I have met there, is the man who, as a child, found the first fossil in that location. Later, he gave it to me as a gift, and we are now displaying that fossil in our museum, and telling his story.
– I have also had the opportunity to be part of the development that takes place at that fossil site. Among other things, they have begun another excavation, and are in the process of building a research center. To be part of the exploration of fossils that are over 150 million years old is quite overwhelming. I'm looking forward to going back after the pandemic, and seeing my friends there again.
Five of the featured dinosaurs
- Mamenchisaurus could be 40 metres long, 15 metres tall and weigh between 80 and 100 tons. That's the equivalent of two city buses per leg.
- Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex) had the most forceful bite of all known animals, and is likely the most dangerous beast to have ever lived on land.
- Spinosaurus was even taller than T-Rex, and had longer jaws. They never met, so we don't know how a standoff like that might have ended.
- Quetzalcoatlus and Ornithocheirus, with wingspans of over 15 meters, are the largest flying creatures that ever lived in the air.
- Mosasaurus measured 18 metres in length, and had enormous jaws. It could fit a human adult in its mouth, and was the largest and most dangerous animal in the oceans.
- In 3 500 square metres, 200 of the largest and most fearsome creatures that ever lived – in the sea, in the air, and on land – are on display. For example, there are ten T-Rexes.
- The large collection of dinosaur skeletons contains everything from small raptors to the largest of the sauropods.
- The exhibition tells us more about the origin and extinction of the dinosaurs. You can also become the owner of real dinosaur fossils.
- If you line up all the dinosaurs in the museum, they will form a queue over 1.2 kilometers long. The total weight of the dinosaurs when they were alive was over 1 million kilos.
- The animatronic dinosaurs breathe, move and roar as if they had been brought back to life.