Dinosaurs! Many of us grew up intrigued by dinosaurs. Did you have a favorite one? Was it the stegosaurus? Maybe tyrannosaurus rex? Velociraptors? It’s fun to read about them in books, and if you’re lucky, you can visit a museum that has a skeleton of one.
But what if you could wander through a ‘zoo’ with moving life-sized dinosaurs, painstakingly designed for authenticity, and see up-close-and-personal just how amazing they were?
Jurassic Quest provides this experience!
I was fortunate enough to be able to preview the Jurassic Quest show at the DCU Center in Worcester Massachusetts in advance of its three-day run on April 29th, April 30th, and May 1, 2022. The show is spectacular. There is a vast range of dinosaurs from tiny little knee-high ones to toweringly huge ones. The details in the eyes and teeth make them seem almost alive. It’s one thing to read about a dinosaur in a book. It’s another to be right there face-to-face with it and get a sense of what this creature was really like.
We talked with Captain Caleb the Dinosaur Trainer who was a veritable walking encyclopedia of dinosaur facts. He could tell you where each dinosaur lived, what it liked to eat, how it raised its young, and a wealth of other details to really bring these historic creatures to life.
Photo by Bob See
Caleb explained that the show invested serious effort into ensuring their representations reflected the latest research on dinosaurs. For example, in the early days of dinosaur research, all dinosaurs were thought to have lizard-like skin. Nowadays, though, we know that some dinosaurs had soft downy feathers on them, to help them regulate their temperature and perhaps for other reasons.
Did you know that the closest modern relative of the dinosaur is the chicken?
There were a lot of myths being busted in this show. Take the maligned oviraptor. The name of this dinosaur literally has ‘egg’ in it, because early researchers once thought the oviraptor stole other dinosaurs’ eggs to eat them.
Nowadays we know that the oviraptors found near eggs were the PARENTS of those children, and the adults were guarding them! They were taking good care of their offspring.
It is stunning, walking through the exhibits, to see the wide range of shapes, sizes, and types of dinosaurs. Some were tiny, skinny creatures like our modern-day birds. Others were so massive that it’s hard to put them into context. It really gets you viscerally to have a gleam-eyed sharp-toothed creature looking right down at you, and knowing there would be no way to outrun it.
These dinosaurs blink, look around, and even breathe. The attention to detail is amazing.
This exhibit helps dispel myths that movies have promoted. For example, when you think of velociraptors, you might think of the gang of tall dangerous dinosaurs from the Jurassic Movie scenes. However, did you know that velociraptors probably looked much more like this:
They were about waist-high, layered with down, and had wide tails.
In the fossil area, you can look through a number of authentic and recreated fossils, to get a sense of the science behind the research. Looking at some of these skulls, you begin to understand how medieval folk thought that dragons once roamed the earth.
For the kids in the group, there are all sorts of activities to keep them entertained. There are bouncy houses, fossil sand pits to dig in, and a variety of dinosaurs to ride on. There are even “live dinosaurs” (with people inside) which roam around interacting with audience members.
Imagine sitting on this when it “wakes up” …
This is absolutely an ideal way for all ages to spend a delightful few hours. Little kids will get a real sense of what dinosaurs are all about, far beyond flat photos in a book. Adults will have their imagination inspired by standing up-close-and-personal with these creatures.
For more information and tickets: