T.Rex A Record Breaker
4/30/2014 12:21:59 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. (Story Courtesy of Denise Marquez, Hobbs News-Sun)
The king of the dinosaurs is leaving the building.
But not until the Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame surpasses all of it’s attendance records.
When the “Bigger than T.Rex” exhibit opened at the end of January museum officials knew it would be popular. But in the final days of the exhibit, it has a chance to break 2013 total yearly attendance record of 12,879. Darrell Beauchamp, Western Heritage Museum executive director, said in less than four months the museum has had more than 12,500 visitors to the museum and the roaring dinosaurs.
“Right at this moment, with six days to go, we’re at 200 (visitors from) on breaking last year’s total attendance,” he said Tuesday. “We have that many kids coming between now and Friday so we’ll break that number. We’re having a banner year
— that’s my point — we’re going to have done more from January to May this year than we did in all of 2013 and 40 percent more than we did in all of 2012. All in just in four months.”
Beauchamp said surpassing a yearly attendance record with one exhibit has never happened at the Western Heritage Museum. He said the museum will have at least 20,000 visitors from May 2013 to May 2014, which starts tomorrow.
“For the previous 12 months we’ve had 19,800 people,” he said. “For the previous 12 months prior to that we had 12,000. If we just match last year’s numbers we’re on pace to have over 20,000 people to the museum. To put that into perspective that’s half the population of Hobbs.”
Though attendance numbers are great at the museum, Beauchamp said it’s the quality of the show that keeps people coming. “The numbers are really not what’s important to us as much as the quality of the program,” he said. “I think what you find is if you produce a quality program people will come. We’ve had some quality shows this past year and some quality shows coming up.”
Some of the Western Heritage Museum’s possibly toughest critics gave the “Bigger than T.Rex” exhibit their approval Tuesday morning. Fourth graders from Taylor Elementary School in Hobbs visited the museum and were able to dig up dinosaur fossils, learn about the different breeds of dinosaurs and got a little scare from the roar of the animatronic life-size dinosaurs.
“The animatronic, he’s kind of scary,” Annalia Sanchez, 10, said.
“We were scared,” Jewl Anthony, 9, said. “Their roars are scary.”
“It’s awesome,” Ricardo Flores, 10, said.
Beauchamp said the exhibit has been a hit with young and old alike.
“Our goal is to bring in good quality educational programming and mix it up,” he said. “Dinosaurs are easy because what kid doesn’t like dinosaurs? People like dinosaurs. It’s fascinating to them.”
“People are saying wonderful things,” Beauchamp continued. “It’s been a good show for us. From an adults stand point they recognize the beauty of the show and how it was put together. From a kid’s stand point they’re overwhelmed by the dinosaurs — who doesn’t like a dinosaur?”
The “Bigger than a T.Rex” exhibit was originally scheduled to end May 1, but will conclude on Sunday. Beauchamp said he and his staff have enjoyed hosting their large guests.
“We were supposed to close it Thursday but with permission from the creator of the show we’re going to leave up through the weekend,” Beauchamp said. “It gives people the chance to get one more