The Natural Museum's famous dinosaur, Dippy, opened in Rochdale on Monday, 10 February 2020 as his record breaking tour reached the North West.
The famous diplodocus cast left the Natural History Museum for the first time in 2018 to embark on a national tour. Rochdale was selected as one of just 8 host venues across the UK and is his only North West stop.
Dippy on Tour is being brought to Number One Riverside, Rochdale and visitors across the UK by the Natural History Museum in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation, and supported by Dell EMC and Williams & Hill.
The superstar dino has already visited major destinations, including Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff. The tour has clocked up more than 1.5 million visitors to date, with many participating venues breaking visitor number records.
In Rochdale, Dippy is taking pride of place in the council's customer service centre, office, and library building, Number One Riverside, with an accompanying Dippy exhibition at local museum and art gallery, Touchstones Rochdale.
Pupils from Healey primary School were the 1st through the door on the opening day
Lucky pupils from Healey Primary school in Rochdale were among the first to see the dinosaur after Year 5 pupil Sophie Roberts, aged 9, won a competition to place the last toebone on the cast with the Natural History Museum's head of conservation, Lorraine Cornish.
Sophie, who brought her class along for the celebration, secured the coveted slot after creating her very own dinosaur, the Giraffosaurus, out of recyclable materials.
Sophie said: "I'm so pleased I won the competition to put the final toe bone on Dippy the Dinosaur. I loved designing and creating my own dinosaur. Friends from my class have thanked me for winning. We are so excited, as it means we are the 1st people to see Dippy in Rochdale."
'It's been joy to see the enthusiasm which has accompanied Dippy's tour'
Director of the Natural History Museum London, Sir Michael Dixon, said: "It has been a joy to see the enthusiasm with which Dippy has been welcomed to Rochdale.
"Dippy will take pride of place in the council's energy-efficient offices, Number One Riverside, which incorporate renewable and low carbon technology. This is a fitting venue for Dippy who has become an ambassador for the natural world, engaging audiences of all ages in conversations about our crucial role in the future of the planet.
"We hope that visitors will be inspired and leave with an increased awareness of the steps we can take to help protect the natural world.
"As with every venue that Dippy has visited so far, we are sure he will prove a huge hit for Number One Riverside and we wish them the best of luck with Dippy on Tour's penultimate stop."
Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, Community and Culture, said: "It's no exaggeration to say that Dippy is a national treasure and we're honoured to be hosting him here in Rochdale on behalf of the North West.
"Bringing a world class exhibit like this into an everyday environment like a council building will open it up to thousands of children who wouldn't ordinarily get the chance to see something like this and I think it will be a once in a lifetime experience for them. I want them to remember their visit to Dippy in Rochdale for many years to come."
More than 30,000 pupils are already booked to see Dippy
More than 30,000 pupils, from schools as far afield as Derbyshire, Burnley and St Helen's, have already booked their free tickets to see Dippy in Rochdale and visit the Dippy exhibition and there are still slots available. Only groups of more than 10 people and schools need to book. Other visitors can simply walk in.
Darren Grice, Deputy Chief Executive at Link4Life, which manages Touchstones Rochdale, said: "Dippy is one of the most iconic and gigantic exhibits we can think of, so we wanted to make sure the exhibition at Touchstones is one of our most ambitious and exciting ones yet.
"The team, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Natural History Museum, have worked really hard to produce an experience that includes exhibits, digital innovations, events and education. We think it's going to be really special and we can't wait to welcome visitors from across the region and beyond."
Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: 'We are absolutely delighted that Dippy proved so successful in Cardiff. Dippy's mission to inspire people to explore the natural world around them and think about their role in protecting it is more important than ever. We know he will continue to be a hit at his new home in Rochdale."
More than 20 dinosaur and natural world inspired events will be taking place across Rochdale to mark Dippy's stay
More than 20 dinosaur and natural world inspired events will be taking place across Rochdale to mark Dippy's stay, including a dinosaur-themed Halle orchestra performance, a diplodocus brick build with an official Lego artist and a multi-sensory theatre experience for youngsters. Children with SEND will also be able to meet Dippy and visit the Dippy exhibition during special quiet sessions.
Dippy is a plaster cast replica of the fossilised bones of a Diplodocus found by railroad workers in Wyoming, USA in 1898. He is one of 10 replicas of the original Diplodocus carnegii, commissioned by King Edward VII and sent to museums in cities around the world, including Paris, Berlin, Vienna, and Moscow. He was on display at the Natural History Museum for over 100 years, after being unveiled in 1905.
Dippy will be in Rochdale from 10 February 2020 - 28 June 2020
Dippy will be in Rochdale from Monday, 10 February 2020 - Sunday, 28 June 2020. From there, he will visit Norwich Cathedral, his final stop. The Dippy exhibition at Touchstones will be in place from Monday, 10 February 2020 - Saturday, 5 September 2020.