This week we were invited to the VIP opening of Dinosaurs in the Wild. It’s an experience, an adventure really, back to the time of the dinosaurs. It opens this weekend and runs till the 23 August at the NEC in Birmingham before transferring to Manchester. It’s an exciting blend of live-action theatre, theme park fun and the very latest palaeontological knowledge which transports you back 67 million years by time machine to encounter living dinosaurs.
You’re given 3D glasses and given a safety briefing before you go, then a guide takes you into the time machine and away you go. You see a few dinosaurs on your way into Chronotex Enterprises’ TimeBase 67. Then you enter the base and can check out the CCTV footage, press cuttings and a plan of the TimeBase, as well as watching a video. You really feel you are on a tour of a research institute.
Next up: the lab. There was lots to explore and investigate. H enjoyed seeing through the eyes of a plant eater and feeling the consistency of dinosaur poo (through gloves I hasten to add). I think if anything we’d have liked a little more time here as there was so much to look at. Then we went through to see a dinosaur autopsy and saw the doctor rescue a dinosaur egg.
That led us nicely through to the hatchery where we got to see all the eggs. Some of them were starting to hatch and we even got to meet a hatchling.
The climax of the visit was a trip to the observatory to see the dinosaurs. There’s a lot of room and different view points so it’s easy for everyone to see. You are in a fairly small group so it’s easy enough to see everything in all the different areas of the visit. There is a storyline and a few surprises, but I think most children would be happy with the level of excitement, but it’s worth looking at the age recommendations on the site (5+ recommended). We were on the tour with a four-year-old and she was fine, but more sensitive souls might find it a bit scary.
So what did we think?
It was a big hit with H and his two friends (10 and 7). They really enjoyed it and as soon as they were out they asked when they could go again. My dinosaur expert H didn’t pick any inaccuracies up, so I would say that the level of dinosaur information was very good. The whole experience lasts about 70 minutes, but you need to allow a little longer to cover entry and exit. Be warned there is a very cool shop, so it might be worth taking along some pocket-money. You are moved along quickly and I think that helped keep the kids interested, although I must admit I’d like to go back to the lab and the observatory and spend a little more time there. It’s a great summer holiday outing or maybe a birthday treat.