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Staffers at the Raymond M. Alf Museum...

Staffers at the Raymond M. Alf Museum in Claremont know they’ve got a winner: dinosaurs.

“Probably because they were real, but seem very imaginary, they fill that void between reality and imagination,” said Kathy Doramus, a volunteer who directs arts and crafts at the museum.

The museum has tapped that appeal to build interest among children and adults in fossils and the history of life on Earth.

This Sunday, visitors can fashion dinosaurs with clay at no charge, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Anyone 4 or older can participate. The museum is on the Webb Schools campus, off Baseline Road, west of Towne Avenue.

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In coming weeks, visitors will be able to make dinosaur puppets and origami dinosaurs. Children and their parents also will learn how to make fossils with plaster.

The museum exhibits include exquisite fossils, casts of dinosaurs and a unique footprint display. There are

dinosaur footprints large enough to sit in, a footprint of a man from 100,000 years ago and even fossilized spider and scorpion tracks. At a touch table, visitors can pick up and feel fossils, meteorites and bones.

The collection began in the basement of now-retired Webb teacher Raymond Alf. His students made many of the finds in Southwestern deserts on school field trips. The fossils still bear the names given them by students: Dumbo, Marge, Richard, Harold.

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Visitor Ryan Taplin, 4, said he wants to make a clay tyrannosaurus, “cause it’s the baddest.” He admitted, however, that the museum’s cast of the beast’s huge head looks unpleasantly ferocious. “Maybe we could put a baseball hat on him,” he said.

Call (714) 626-3587 or (714) 624-2798 for more information.


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