There’s a huge celebrity in town – and the public came from across Dorset and beyond to get acquainted with him.

The wet weather did not deter the crowds as the Dippy the Diplodocus exhibition finally opened to the public at Dorset County Museum on Saturday.

Dippy is a plaster cast replica of a Diplodocus carnegii species which lived between 145 million and 156 million years ago and is made of 292 bones.

Dippy has been famously on show at The Natural History Museum in London since 1905 and, until now, has never left there.

His tour of the country has begun in Dorchester, close to the Jurassic Coast.

Andrew and Anne-Marie Mason came from Poole to see Dippy with their children, including dinosaur-mad Ezra, aged four – who particularly liked Dippy’s ‘big fat tummy’.

“We came on the train and followed the footprints from the station,” said Anne-Marie. “We started planning last year to come and see it. On the day they announced he was coming we went online and booked.”

His arrival in Dorchester proved very popular with tickets selling out quickly, but museum organisers announced over the weekend – after a successful start to his residency – they have doubled tickets available to see Dippy until the end of February.

Museum director Jon Murden said: “We were concerned about a number of things in particular the flow of people – there are some narrow areas and a number of pinches and you never know how it’s going to work – but it’s going great. It’s busy but not overwhelming so we’ve been able to make more tickets available. Everyone’s been really patient and having a great time and of course everyone is getting a selfie with Dippy.”

He urged anyone who had tried to buy tickets before and been left disappointed to try again.

Kimberly Larler, from Weymouth, said she thought Dippy would be good for the local area.

“The kids have been very excited. It’s great that it has come here. Lots of people wouldn’t be able to see it otherwise. It’s a huge cost to get to London for the day especially if you’ve got kids,” she said.

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Tracey Brooke, from Sherborne, said she remembered seeing Dippy in London as a child but he looked ‘stunning’ in his new home in the Victorian Hall.

“We’ve come with the grandchildren and our seven-year-old is dinosaur crazy.

“We’ve been to London with the kids and I went with my mother 50 years ago. I think it’s brilliant to bring it out to other places and the museum is the perfect setting – this hall was almost made for it. When you are standing on the gallery it’s just the right height. It’s wonderful to see it here,” she said.

The iconic diplodocus cast is an impressive 21.3 metres long and 4.25 metres high and just fits into Victorian Hall – with only a few centimetres spare at each end.

A special viewing area has been created on the balcony so visitors can get up and personal with Dippy.

Sophie Penny of Weymouth came with her sons Josh, seven, and Casper, four.

“I’d never be able to survive a train ride to London with my four-year-old so we’ve been very fortunate to see it in Dorchester. As the first stop on on his tour it makes sense it’s on the Jurassic Coast,” she said.

A light weight replica skull is also available to pick up and touch for an interactive experience.

Rachel Bennet and came from Chickerell to see Dippy as a birthday treat for her daughter Belle after she had been learning all about fossils and Mary Anning at school.

Rachel said: “It’s brilliant it’s here as we are the home of the Jurassic Coast. Hopefully it’ll bring more people in to see our lovely coastline. It’s really fitting for it to be here.”

To book your tickets visit

Tickets are free and allocated on a first come first served basis. Dippy can be seen at Dorchester until May 8.

A WILD WALK: Impressive feet to track down big attraction

If you go down to Dorchester South station, you may find an unusual sight – they are big, green and can help you learn all about the county town’s biggest resident.

To mark the arrival of Dippy to the Dorset County Museum on Saturday Dorchester’s Brewery Square officially launched an interactive trail of Diplodocus footprints.

Dorset Echo:

Jon Murden, director of DCM, Paul Williams from the BBC’s Natural History Unit and Brewery Square centre manager, Charlotte Spracklen 

There are 45 footprints, which start at the station, meander their way through Brewery Square, down the high street and finish at the museum.

The idea for the footprint trail came from Brewery Square centre manager, Charlotte Spracklen which she said just ‘popped into her head’ one afternoon.

“I’d seen a lot of people commenting on articles and social media saying ‘we should get the train to see Dippy’ so I thought it would be a good idea,” she said.

Several of the life-size footprints have fun diplodocus-themed facts which are designed to be ‘engaging, educational and provide fun for all the family’.

The footprints are scientifically accurate being the correct size and shape of an actual diplodocus footprint.

The footprints officially unveiled by Brewery Square manager Charlotte Spracklen along with Paul Williams from the BBC’s Natural History Unit and Jon Murden, director of DCM.

Dorset Echo:

Charlotte Spracklen said the footprints are made from completely sustainable materials and have been safety checked to the highest standard – so there’s no fear of slipping on a wet weekend.

Dr Murden said: “We are really keen to get people to use public transport and hopefully this will do just that. It will help lots of people who have come to Dorchester for the first time find their way easily to the museum.”

He said the first people he had spoken to at Dippy’s opening that day had travelled all from Totness in Devon. Dr Murden added the idea of bringing Dippy to Dorchester was to create a stop for the south west.

“We’re expecting visitors to come from all over Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and Somerset and hopefully lots of them will get on the train,” he said.

Dr Murden added this past weekend alone, the museum was expecting almost 3,000 visitors.

“It’s really nice to link Brewery Square and the other side of Dorchester together. Our goal was to support local businesses and help visitors see other things Dorchester has to offer outside the museum and if the footprints help do that, that’s fantastic,” he said.

The footprint trail will remain at Brewery Square until Dippy departs in May.