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CONTEST WINNER MEETS HER DINOSAUR

A school assignment, some crayons and creativity landed a nine-year-old girl directly in the path of a sharp-toothed, long-nosed, prehistoric dinosaur at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher on Thursday.

Standing before the moving, growling beast, Anya Boujie, of Holly Ridge, smiled with more than a little familiarity. She was eye-to-eye with the life-sized creature she helped design for the new “DINOSAURS!” exhibit at the Aquarium. 

In anticipation of the new, temporary exhibit, the Aquarium held a coloring contest this winter with the winning entry to inspire the color scheme for the fish-eating Baryonyx, one of more than a half-dozen dinosaurs in the exhibit. Boujie’s art teacher, Beth Howard, assigned the dinosaur coloring sheets to her students at Dixon Elementary School and sent the best entries to the Aquarium for consideration. 

The Aquarium received more than 70 total entries from dinosaur enthusiasts from around the state, aged 3 to 12. Stripes and dots, swirls and camo, aquarium-themed and even a surfing dinosaur wearing a flowered shirt gave staff much to think about. Scientists do not know what color dinosaurs actually were, with the exception of several feathered species.
Eventually, staff selected Boujie’s—with its yellow belly and Carolina blue torso accented with a green stripe running down the long tail. 

“We had so many wonderful images from which to choose,” said Aquarium Director Peggy Sloan. “Anya’s was selected for her creative interpretation, yet fit with the natural setting and nature of the exhibit.” 

Aquarium staff toured Boujie and her family through the Aquarium and “DINOSAURS!” exhibit, awarded her official recognition of her win with a certificate and passes to visit again. 

“We know children love dinosaurs,” said Sloan. “This contest was an opportunity for young people to get involved in a tangible way and start conversations about these animals.”

“DINOSAURS!” is a temporary, seasonal exhibit and runs until September 2016. The exhibit is free with general Aquarium admission. For more information visit ncaqariums.com/fort-fisher.


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