Smithsonian dinosaur hall to close April 28 for 5 years

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More than 65 million years after they went extinct, dinosaurs are about to disappear again -- at least from public view in Washington.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History said last week that its high-traffic dinosaur hall will close April 28 for a previously announced $48 million makeover. Most of the popular ancient specimens won't reappear until 2019, when the fossil hall is reopened at the world's second-most-visited museum.

The 31,000-square-foot hall will have a new centerpiece: The Wankel T. rex, one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons ever unearthed.

An estimated 8 million people visited the Natural History Museum in 2013, and nearly 5.5 million passed through what's formally known as the Fossil Hall, according to Smithsonian officials.


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