REGINA - The Royal Saskatchewan Museum was packed with visitors Saturday who paid respects to beloved dinosaur Megamunch.
It was the official retirement celebration for the popular robotic T-Rex that has greeted visitors to the museum for 37 years. But with age and wear and tear taking its toll, Megamunch will be ending duties at the museum later this month and relocating to the museum's warehouse for a well deserved rest.
The day included a performance by children’s entertainer Brenda Baker, who has been closely associated with the museum through her song Megamunch. She performed that and other songs during what was, for Baker, her own final performance before retirement.
“I can’t think of a better way to end a career of 40 years when part of what I’ve been doing is going around the province, singing a song about Megamunch,” said Baker. “Why not end your career probably where it began. And it’s also a place that is so child-friendly, there’s so much about this museum that is wonderful for families. That’s really what my life has been about is creating opportunities for families to come together and sing, and so it all ties in beautifully.”
The highlight for those in attendance was seeing Megamunch roar one last time. There was a long lineup to see Megamunch’s display next to the auditorium, where fans took pictures standing next to him.
“He’s really entertained generation after generation,” said Brie Hnetka, executive director of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. She noted parents who saw Megamunch when they were kids have been taking their own kids to see the dinosaur.
Among the highlights of Megamunch's tenure since joining the museum on May 16, 1986:
- Witnessing a fire at the museum in Feb. 1990,
- Working as a baggage handler at Regina International Airport during museum renovations in 1997,
- Bouts of ill health including skin reconstruction surgery in 2003,
- Getting his photo taken with the Grey Cup in 2007.
Bidding farewell is tough for all of Megamunch’s fans who've seen him over the years.
“People are sad, but they actually understand and they’ve been really supportive. They are sad to see him go, but they’ve had a really good opportunity to come, say goodbye, share their memories online, write notes sharing their memories. It’s been great, it’s been great support.”
While Megamunch will be giving up his role as the main “face” of the museum, there will still be plenty to see. The museum is pointing to Scotty the T-Rex, the largest T-Rex in the world, as ready to take the reins as the main ambassador of the museum in Megamunch’s place.
For those who did not catch Megamunch on the weekend, there will still be opportunities over the next couple of weeks to see the beloved dinosaur before its final day on Feb. 25. Among the displays inside from Feb. 20 to 25 will be a pop-up Megamunch museum in the SaskTel Be Kind Online Learning Lab, which includes a presentation of Megamunch through the years.
Visitors will also be able to take part in the Megamunch Seek-and-Find where they can look for pictures of Megamunch hidden in the galleries.