By Evie Carrick
June 05, 2019
Credit: SHAWN THEW/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

As any kid will tell you, the Tyrannosaurus rex is the king of dinosaurs. So it only makes sense that its skeleton — which is rare and coveted — is available for the world to see at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington ,D.C.

Opening to the public on Saturday, June 8, the authentic T. rex skeleton will be displayed in the museum’s 31,000-square-foot exhibition hall. As the centerpiece for the new exhibit, Hall of Fossils — Deep Time, the T. rex is positioned so it towers over the body of a triceratops, mid-kill.

Credit: SHAWN THEW/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The new skeleton was a long time coming for the museum. Before acquiring it, they were forced to settle for a replica version after losing a bidding war for a near-complete skeleton in 1997, which ended up going to Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History for $7.6 million.

Even though an authentic skeleton is expensive and rare, Kirk Johnson, the museum’s director, told the Associated Press that, “It’s been kind of deeply embarrassing to be the national museum and NOT have a T. rex.”

The new skeleton was previously on display at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana but in 2014, the Smithsonian secured a 50-year lease of the bones. The T. rex — which, when alive was 38 feet long and at least 8,000 pounds — was assembled by a team of specialists.

In preparation for the exhibit opening on Saturday, an exclusive dinosaur-themed gift shop is open for business.