By Nicole Barrios
About 75 children, fidgeting with excitement prior to the show, were at the Buda Library recently to catch the summer finale — none other than the dinosaur man himself, Dinosaur George.
They were not disppointed as they experienced a blast from the prehistoric past featuring dinosaur stories, fossils and fun. The guest speaker had the rapt attention of each child. And parent.
“Dinosaur George” Blasing is a self-taught paleontologist, animal behaviorist and author with more than 35 years of study and research experience. His presentation of prehistoric fossils was the main event on July 24 at the library.
Hailing from San Antonio, Dinosaur George brought with him a trailer full of dinosaur bones, skulls and teeth to entertain and educate the children and parents sitting on the floor and chairs in the Children’s Corner of the library.
“Ever since I was little, my favorite thing in the world to do was to go to the library and check our books about dinosaurs,” Blasing said to the group.
With a mix of personal stories, educational facts and impersonations in stand-up comedy style, Dinosaur George entertained the kids whose faces lit up throughout the presentation.
“So, as I got older I started reading books about dinosaurs and then I started digging them up,” Blasing told the children.
Blasing answered questions from the kids about dinosaurs. He showed them the massive tooth of a wooly mammoth, which the children reacted to with squeals of delight.
Children were shown the large skull of a prehistoric pig and the enormous teeth of the megalodon shark, which caused them all to scream and shriek.
Blasing’s interactive demonstration then entered into the dinosaur realm, bringing out skulls, eggs and claws of prehistoric dinosaurs ranging from the very tiny microraptor to the enormous Tyrannosaurus rex.
“Almost everything I know about dinosaurs I learned from reading books, did you know that?” Blasing asked. “So if you guys are good readers, you can learn anything in the world – but make sure you come back to your library.”
The program lasted about 30 minutes, with children and parents coming up to Blasing afterward to ask questions.
“Dinosaur George is just always so fabulous,” said Martha Sanders, children’s librarian at the Buda Public Library. “He entertains and he’s educational at the same time. He has us laughing our heads off but then we’re also learning so much.”
As soon as Dinosaur George finishes his event, Sanders said she gets on the phone to book him for next year.
“The kids love him, we love him – it’s wonderful,” Sanders said.
Dakota Bacon, 9, said that Dinosaur George was “pretty awesome” and thought the dinosaurs were cool because they were so big.
Krystal Murdoch, a local mother who brought her kids to see Dinosaur George, said Blasing was very energetic and got the kids involved in the presentation.
“I think it’s really awesome because he encourages the kids to read because that’s how he learned, and just to get the kids out of the house and involved in the community,” Murdoch said.
Yahva Westbrook, 10, said she thinks it is important that the library puts on event like this so children can learn about science and dinosaurs.
“Well, when I was a kid, I got to see Dinosaur George several times and he was fantastic and so much fun,” said Melanie Mearse Ferguson, West Haven Academy of Karate Greater Hays instructor, who brought summer camp students to the event. “And I still love coming out to the events and we wanted to share it with the kids.”
Blasing said this was about the fifth time he has visited the Buda Public Library.
Blasing enjoys speaking to children and watching them “come to life” when he mentions their favorite dinosaur.
“And they kind of feel like I’m talking to them, and I get that, and that’s exciting,” Blasing said. “But for me, what I love is finding out that these kids have wiped out all the dinosaur books.”
It is important for children to learn about creatures from the past because it sends a message that “as the environment changes on the planet, life changes with it,” Blasing said.
“The reason why dinosaurs aren’t here is because of a dramatic environmental change,” Blasing said. “So what you hope is you make them understand that there’s a need to take care of our environment because we do have an impact on it and we can make things change.”
This year’s visit from Dinosaur George was sponsored by Randolph Brooks Federal Credit Union of Buda, Sanders said.