Ashley Hunter is a mom, teacher, and community supporter who loves who she is and where she lives.

Ashley Hunter

Ashley Hunter

There was a new study that came out recently that said young children who are greatly interested in or obsessed with dinosaurs have much higher IQ’s later on in life. Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that neither of my kids are one of them. In fact, the only things they know about dinosaurs are what they learned in one episode of The Magic School Bus. They’ve honestly never really been interested in big lizards as much as big monster trucks. However, one trip to the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin may have changed their mind.

We were visiting the UT Austin campus for my husband’s doctoral work when I decided it would be a good idea to take both of my boys to the museum behind the Butler School of Music to see some facts about Texas wildlife.

Despite having studied next door to the museum, I had actually never been there, so this would be a really nice experience for all of us. After buying our tickets, I could see my kids’ eyes widen as they stared at the big display of the bones of a flying creature overhead. The security guard told my oldest all about it, and I said I’d ask him what its name was when we were done, but of course, I failed to ask because I forgot the name of the dinosaur. They loved seeing all of the wildlife on the second floor, though. They had small blurbs about each of the different marine ecosystems throughout Texas.

My kids learned what an alligator gar was, which looks nothing like an actual alligator, and got to get in and out of a little fishing boat and pretend to catch a giant catfish. In excitement, my oldest kept asking, “What’s next?”

I kept the first floor dinosaur exhibit for the end because I thought it would be their favorite, so we walked back and forth between species of rattlesnake and nocturnal creatures to buy some time.

However, we had explored everything to its fullest, and eventually, we came to the elevators where we would be lowered to the first floor to meet all the bones of prehistoric animals. Truly, it was a room to behold. Everything from great-great-great grandpa alligators to great-great-great-grandpa sharks and rabbits were there in skeleton form.

Both children walked quickly through the room, although I wanted to see to whom each of the bones belonged. They were truly impressed with the prehistoric fish bones, liked the other sea creatures and even struck a conversation with one of the workers about Mastodons. My oldest kept asking about the other exhibits, though, and eventually, it was time to leave.

So, my kids may not be as interested in dinosaurs and prehistoric animals as I thought and therefore may not be the next humans to beat the supercomputer in a game of chess. But, I did learn that they love Texas and the animals that currently live here. That was definitely worth the trip.

Ashley Hunter is a mom, teacher, and community supporter who loves who she is and where she lives. If you have ideas that you would like to share with Hunter, you may email suggestions to

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