The Dino Pit is an outdoor paleontology exhibit, built for permanent display at the Austin Nature & Science Center (ANSC) located in Zilker Park. The project was developed and built through a collaborative effort of the ANSC, The University of Texas at Austin´s Texas Memorial Museum, the Austin Community Foundation, and the architectural firm of Graeber, Simmons & Cowen, which also served as project manager. The exhibit is designed to instruct visitors about paleontology through hands-on educational experience.
Artist John Maisano was instrumental in the development and completion of the Dino Pit project, working to transform a large area at ANSC into an educational dig site for finding fossil casts. Maisano modeled the casts using many of the important and unique specimens from the collections of the Texas Memorial Museum. He created an 8' x 6' mammoth rib cage cast in bronze, for the children’s entrance to the site, as well as 19 oil paintings depicting the creatures the children will find as they explore the pit.
Other features of the exhibit include dinosaur trackways, a field collection display that highlights fossils found at the 301 Congress Avenue construction site several years ago, and an observation deck. The exhibit is incorporated into the visitor programs currently offered at ANSC including youth programs, school field trips, camps, birthday parties, adult workshops and teacher training.