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meganeura

Enter The Coal Forest

A Tropical Wilderness

Enter a realistic, two-story tall, prehistoric carboniferous coal forest. Simulated thunder and lightning of a tropical rainstorm, motion activated lighting, and exciting dioramas of the creatures that once roamed Rockford’s local landscape will help you imagine, learn, and explore the Earth! Three hundred million years ago forests like this one covered North America and Europe. You won’t find dinosaurs yet, but be on the lookout for giant dragonflies, towering plants, and massive millipedes! 

Who can you spot in this exhibit?
Discover Card
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Arthopleura
Arthropleura

Lived 300-345 million years ago

It looks dangerous, but like modern millipedes, it ate plants. Some were as big as 6 feet!

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eryops
Eryops

Lived 295-270 million years ago

Is it a dinosaur? No, it's an Eryops, a fierce predator that lived long before the dinosaurs. This large amphibian could grow to 9 feet long!

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Calamites
Calamites

Lived 295-270 million years ago

Like modern rainforests, the coal forest had layers. Some plants were very tall and created a canopy at the top; others were shorter and made up an understory. Calamites grew up to 50 feet tall, but it is still part of the understory!