Over the next five years, it's estimated that 50,000 new visitors will come to Rockford with one exhibit in mind: Jane.
The 66-million-year-old dinosaur will be unveiled next Wednesday at the Burpee Museum, and the reality about what Jane could mean for our city is beginning to make its way to the surface.
Experts say this is one of the top 10 dinosaur finds in the last 100 years. Found four years ago by Burpee Museum excavators, Jane, the 66-million-year-old dinosaur, will soon officially call Rockford home.
"Word is out; everywhere you go, people hear the Burpee Museum and say, ‘ah, Jane,’ so that's wonderful," says Burpee educational director, Sheila Rawlings.
The new Jane exhibit remains off limits until the unveiling June 29, but imagine this: a $1.3 million display with Jane as the focal point and more than a dozen chances to get immersed in her world.
"People can get their hands on, games they can play, some folks can even bring the age of the dinosaurs to an end with an asteroid," says Burpee president Lew Crampton.
By July 4, 5,000 people are expected to visit Jane. Another 45,000 are expected to head to Burpee for her exhibit in the next five years.
"We hope that we can saddle up Jane and ride her into the sunset as far as possibilities," says Crampton.
"Once people have found us and their interest has been sparked by Jane, then we're able to say look at the other great things we've got," adds Rawlings.
Burpee has like Native American exhibits and wildlife sanctuaries. There are also camps and activities for kids. It's fun, education, history, all packed under one roof and waiting for you to discover.
There's more exciting news for the Burpee Museum. Scientists have reached a conclusion on what type of dinosaur Jane is. They'll make the announcement by early next week.
Here's one clue: she's the most complete, best preserved example of her kind on display anywhere in the world.