About Dino Don

Explorer, writer, and presenter Don Lessem went to Mongolia to hunt for dinosaurs. He came back with Genghis Khan. That is he learned first-hand about the misunderstood genius who gave the world pants, paper money, passports, violins and much more.

So Mr. Lessem created Genghis Khan: The Exhibition opening November 20th at Discovery Place in Charlotte – a blockbuster seen by nearly 1 million museum-goers across the U.S., and in Canada and Singapore. For the unique exhibition, Lessem gathered the largest collection of 13th century Mongolian artifacts, from weapons to jewels, ever displayed, and combined them with sets, murals, videos and unique role-playing activities for visitors. Smithsonian scholars curated the exhibition and created its catalog.

Genghis Khan is a hobby for the one of the few living people with a dinosaur named after him. “Dino” Don is the world’s leading popular presenter of dinosaurs– via his movie and theme park collaborations, exhibitions, expeditions, books, and television documentaries.

Advisor to Steven Spielberg for the Jurassic Park film, to Universal Studios for its Jurassic Park ride and to Walt Disney Productions for its Animal Kingdom Dinoland attraction and Dinosaurs film.

“Dino” Don Lessem has excavated and explored for dinosaurs worldwide. In Patagonia, he dug up and reconstructed the world’s record-sized plant-eating and meat-eating dinosaurs. He has also excavated dinosaurs in Mongolia, China, Canada and Arctic Alaska.

Via his company, Dinodon, Inc., Mr. Lessem created the world’s largest and most popular touring dinosaur museum exhibitions, including Jurassic Park, seen by more than five million people worldwide including museums in U.S., Canada, Italy, England, Argentina and the Netherlands.

“Dino” Don’s exhibitions have raised more than two million dollars for dinosaur research via the nonprofit Dinosaur Society and Jurassic Foundation, founded by Mr. Lessem.

In recognition of his support of paleontology, “Dino” Don had a giant plant-eating dinosaur named after him — Lessemsaurus. “It has a huge belly and a tiny brain, like its namesake, says Lessem.

Mr. Lessem is the author of more than 50 books for adults and children on dinosaurs and natural history. In addition to his many books for National Geographic, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Scholastic and other publishers, “Dino” Don has answered than 11,000 letters to his “Ask Dino Don” column in Highlights Magazine, the nation’s largest-circulation children’s magazine.

He’s hosted and written NOVA and Discovery Channel documentaries. His pioneering Microsoft CD, Dinosaurs sold 1 million copies. As a columnist for the world’s largest-circulation children’s magazine, Highlights for Children, Mr. Lessem has answered more than 11,000 children’s lessons on dinosaurs.

“Dino” Don has been a profile subject as well as a frequent guest on such national programs as The Today Show, Good Morning AmericaCBS Morning News, and NPR’s All Things Considered and Science Friday. He’s been written about in People Magazine, Success, and Business Week. His own writings on dinosaur research have been featured in Newsweek, The New York Times, Discover Magazine, The Boston Globe, and Life Magazine.

don_home_350Mr. Lessem is a degreed animal behaviorist and former Knight Journalism Fellow at M.I.T. and science correspondent for The Boston Globe. He and his wife, Valerie Jones, live in a 1784 Philadelphia-area mansion surrounded by the original dinosaurs from the Jurassic Park film. His two daughters live and work in New York City.