Ultimate Dinosaurs: Augmented Reality

Not only will you see new dinosaurs in the Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibition, you'll experience them in new ways through augmented reality (AR). AR layers virtual experiences over the real environment to bring our great Southern dinosaurs to life!

This is the first time Cincinnati Museum Center is using AR technology in an exhibition setting – bringing these giants to life and encouraging you to look at them from a new perspective. Three AR stations in the exhibition allow you to virtually flesh out dinosaur skeletons. Move the device across the skeletal casts to see what the dinosaurs looked like with skin, and click on the on-screen hotspots for further information.

If you have an iPhone®, iPad® or iPod touch®* mobile digital device, download our FREE Cincinnati Ultimate Dinosaurs app and bring it with you to Museum Center to activate additional experiences!


Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. (NOTE: App requires a device with a built in camera and will not work on iPad 1.)

Download the app and try it on the image below!


FAQs about Augmented Reality


1. What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality (AR) is a view of the real, physical world with a layer of computer-generated animation over top of it. It's not virtual reality, which is about creating a completely simulated world. AR merges the virtual with the real to create a different, or augmented, view of the world. 

2. Why is the Cincinnati Museum Center using AR in exhibitions?

The fact that AR merges the virtual with the real world is what's so exciting for museums. AR is a powerful tool for museums because it can free objects from the confines of their displays and put them back into their original context.

For Museum Center's exhibition, that means fleshing out skeletal casts to see what the dinosaurs might have looked like with skin on, how they would have moved and behaved. AR is an exciting part of this Museum Center exhibition because it brings the dinosaurs to life and allows us to deliver educational information in a way that's engaging and fun to use. 

3. Is the app free?

Yes! This free app can be downloaded on iTunes.

4. Do I need my own device to experience AR?

There are three iPad stations installed in the Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibition for all visitors to use, so you do not need your own device to experience augmented reality (AR) in the exhibition. 

However, if you have an iOS device, you can try additional AR experiences including three graphic panels in the exhibition (mounted beneath the dinosaurs) as well as AR on select Museum Center advertising. 

5. Why is this app only available for iOS devices?

AR in mobile application is a very new technology. When the Museum Center's dinosaur app was produced, an iOS platform offered the most reliable development environment for AR in terms of both technical and creative freedom. 

The Museum Center app was created with a software development kit by String, which is considered one of the most user friendly and stable AR software kits available. String is the fastest tracking method and together with Unity yields the best experience for AR on a mobile device. String is not currently supported by Android or Blackberry, although an Android release is in the works according to String. Museum Center's hope is that as the technology develops, we will be able to deliver cross-platform experiences for AR in the future.

6. Who developed the app?

Museum Center's Ultimate Dinosaurs app was developed by Toronto production studio Meld Media. Meld also worked with Museum Center to create several multi-media experiences beyond AR including two reactive walls that use body-scanning technology to react to visitor movement, a multi-user game that teaches users about continental drift and more.

7. I really don't like a lot of technology in museum exhibitions. So Ultimate Dinosaurs is probably not for me.

Museum Center has designed Ultimate Dinosaurs in such a way that you can choose how you want to experience the exhibition, so there really is something for everyone.

If you prefer a more traditional style of exhibition, you can focus your visit on the skeletal casts, accompanying objects and information that introduce you to many new species of dinosaurs discovered in the last 20 years. The science and research behind the southern hemisphere dinosaurs on display reveal exciting new finds that have helped shape our knowledge of dinosaur evolution. 

If you prefer to learn through multi-media, we encourage you to use the three AR stations and the 17 Dino Profile Stations including iPads on light boxes, and try your hand at the multi-user continental drift game.

If you're visiting with young children, there is a family adventure trail with various interactive stations throughout the exhibit. Kids can finish an activity and stamp their PaleoPassport to take home with them as a memento.

8. The app is slow to download.

Download times will be different depending on the situation and the method of downloading. The function of the app itself cannot affect download speed. 

9. I'm having trouble making the AR work on your advertising.

Here's how to get the most out of the augmented reality experience:

  • Keep the white and black frame on-screen
  • Make sure there's even lighting on the image (avoid shadows or glare)
  • On print materials, make sure the marker is flat

The AR app works best on iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2 and iPad 3. It's also compatible with iPhone 3GS.

10. I'm having trouble posting my dinosaur photo to Facebook from the app.

You are required to have the Facebook app installed on your device in addition to the Cincinnati Museum Center Ultimate Dinosaurs app, otherwise your Facebook photo library is populated with the dino image instead. While in Facebook, within "app settings" (see image) the "post on your behalf" must also be active. 


*iPhone and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. iOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license.

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Monday - Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

*Note: The last time listed above for each day is the last time to enter the exhibit, after which you may view the exhibit at your own pace. Ultimate Dinosaurs will be open late on the following Fridays, with the last entry at 8 p.m.: June 14, July 12, August 9, September 13 and November 29.


 Buy Tickets

Tickets for the exhibit Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana are now on sale! Museum Center Members get the best deal: After paying one-time discounted admission of $9 for adults and $7 for children, Members receive FREE unlimited repeat visits to the exhibition through January 5, 2014! Click here to become a Member.

Adult Member $9
Child Member $7
Adult Non-Member $15
Child Non-Member $11
Seniors (60+) $13


For Educators

See the preliminary Ohio and national education standards addressed within Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana, as well as within Museum Center's This Little Dinosaur Learning Lab (pre-K - K) and Dinosaur Discovery Learning Lab (grades 1 - 5). These documents show the curriculum links for grades K-12 across the areas of science, social studies, mathematics (common core) and language arts (common core).