Mesa Southwest Museum's new Tyrannosaurus Rex exhibit, "A T-Rex Named Sue," is a big deal in more ways than one. "We consider getting Sue a major coup for the Valley and for the museum," says Cynthia Diaz, museum marketing coordinator. "First, because a lot of people are unaware that we're here, and second, because of how big we are in the field of dinosaurs -- we have at least eight full skeletons and the largest collection of dinosaur fossils in Arizona."
Even more tremendous is the size of Sue's cast replica skeleton, on loan from the Field Museum in Chicago, where the original bones are on permanent display. It measures 43 feet long from nose to tail, and 12 feet high at the hips. Sue also has a five-foot-long skull chock-full of razor-sharp teeth up to a foot in length.
See if bigger really is better at Mesa Southwest Museum, 53 North Macdonald in Mesa, through April 18. Call 480-644-2230 for details. - Michele Laudig
The Hobbit puts a trance on young audiences
How does a children's theater troupe lure patrons from a pool that prefers PlayStation to plays? Valley Youth Theatre is doing it by the book. VYT's production of The Hobbit -- based on J.R.R. Tolkien's prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy -- tells the tale of Bilbo Baggins, "a very well-to-do" hobbit who helps Gandalf the Grey reclaim a stolen fortune.
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The adventure continues through February 8 at Valley Youth Theatre, 525 North First Street, with performances at 7 p.m. Fridays, and noon and 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $12; call 602-253-8188, extension 2, for reservations. For more information, see www.vyt.com. - Jill Koch
PB & Jammin'
Nutty concert spreads fun
Peanut butter and jelly -- the seemingly essential ingredients for happiness for children everywhere. Hence, the perfect theme for the City of Tempe's latest Youth Library event: "The Peanut Butter and Jam Concert." Local singer-songwriter Persephone sings about friendship, love and respect in a performance designed for 3- to 5-year-olds and their parents. "She's extremely talented," says youth services coordinator Sherry Warren. "We just love her." The stories and songs are accompanied by art projects, as well as PB&J snacks. Bring water bottles, hats, blankets and sunscreen. The free concert begins at 10 a.m. Monday, February 2, at the Tempe Community Center Complex Courtyard at the Tempe Library, 3500 South Rural. Call 480-350-5522.- Quetta Carpenter