The dinosaurs inside the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History have been in hiding for nearly five years while the dinosaur hall is being renovated. Now, those fossils are coming out of storage before the exhibit reopens in Washington later this year.
CBS News' Chip Reid got a sneak peek of the renovated space while construction is still underway. It includes one of the most complete T. rex skeletons in the world that's ever been on display – almost entirely made of real fossils unlike its plaster predecessor.
Experts painstakingly re-built the creatures piece by piece using the latest knowledge to make them look more real. The new T.rex is chomping down on a triceratops.
"They look realer when you portray them doing real things," explained Matthew Carrano, the curator of "Dinosauria." "Like eating or sleeping or all the different things that animals do … I think though most of our dinosaurs were real last time … they just looked kind of old and dusty and static."
Carrano said "Jurassic Park" does a "pretty good job" of portraying the T. rex.
"It probably isn't an animal that roared but movies need things that are loud so that's fine," he said.
Carrano knew he wanted to be a dinosaur scientist when he was in the second grade, but his obsession goes way beyond the main attraction.
"I am, you know, kind of over T. rex, personally. You know, it's our most famous dinosaur. It's a movie star, it does not need my help," Carrano said.
And it's not just about dinosaurs. You'll also see creatures ranging from the mastodon to the squalicorax, a prehistoric shark. Siobhan Starrs oversees the project and its dozens of experts. When she explains to people what they're getting from the exhibit, she tells them it's one-of-a-kind – and it's not just about the T.rex.
For Matthew Carrano, his inner-child has played a central role in how he decides to portray a dinosaur.
"Well it's the 10-year-old in me getting permission from the scientist to show something," he said. "It's got to be real."
What he wants people to get out of the exhibit — regardless of age — is to have their "minds blown." And he's pretty confident they will be. You're going to have to be patient though, because this exhibit doesn't open until June 8.
for more features.