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July 31, 2018

The Virginia Museum of Natural History's annual Dino Festival roared in loudly and roared out even louder July 27 and 28, bringing in a record-smashing crowd of over 3,400 people for the two-day event.

"It was phenomenal to see people pouring into the museum non-stop this past Friday and Saturday," said Dr. Joe Keiper, executive director of the museum. "It was particularly exciting to realize that people were coming from all over the region to check-out what the museum has to offer."

The 2017 Dino Festival previously stood as the highest attended event at the museum, bringing in over 2,100 visitors.

Of the more than 3,400 visitors at this year's event, approximately 2,300 were from out of town, with 25% of the overall attendance coming from North Carolina.

"For years, our event attendance was largely dependent on local visitors," said Ryan Barber, the museum's deputy director. "In recent years, we have been able to flip that trend, with the majority of event attendance now coming from out-of-town visitors."

The museum attributes multiple factors for the spike in attendance at this year's event.

"The release of the 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' movie and the completion of the museum's latest dinosaur fossil dig in Wyoming earlier this summer created a lot of buzz around dinosaurs and we were able to capitalize on it," said Barber. "More specifically, we reached the point about two years ago where we felt the museum brand was big enough locally that we could start focusing our advertising resources regionally. For this past festival, the local visitation increased by over 200, while the regional visitation increased by over 1,000."

Dino Festival was sponsored by U.S. Cellular, SOVAH Health, Patterson Trust and Brosville Animal Hospital.

The next major museum event is Dragon Festival, scheduled to take place at the museum on Saturday, October 20.

For more information about the museum, including upcoming events, visit www.vmnh.net.

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