At the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, Sinclair Oil unveiled nine life-sized dinosaurs sculptures. Louis Paul Jonas, a taxidermist and wildlife sculptor, had consulted with paleontologists from prominent natural history museums to build the fiberglass statues. Among them was Uncle Beazley, the triceratops who hatched from a chicken’s egg.
Uncle Beazley is a character from The Enormous Egg, a children’s book about a boy who finds a dinosaur in a hen’s egg. In the book, the farm boy named Nate took care of him until he grew too big. In reality, after the World’s Fair, Uncle Beazley and the other statues toured the country on a flatbed truck in Sinclair’s Dinoland display, and in 1967, the company donated them to museums around the U.S.
Uncle Beazley went to the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum for its opening on September 15, 1967 and was filmed for the Enormous Egg movie in 1968. Jonas made five more statues of varying heights to portray the dinosaur as he grew.
From the 1970s to 1994, he spent his days in front of the National Museum of Natural History, and since 1994 Uncle Beazley has been on display at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., save for a month in 2011 spent getting refurbished at the Smithsonian. Countless children enjoyed playing on the fiberglass sculpture for years, but it’s no longer allowed.
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