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Exhibit brings dinosaurs to life at Memorial Coliseum
Time:15-08-2016  Hits:27



      “They’re having a ball,” said Laurie Feller, 57, who brought granddaughter Lucy and grandson Hugh Hamilton, 4, to this weekend’s main attraction at Memorial Coliseum.

      That’s where the family found the T. rex photo prop, as well as more than 50 other life-size, realistic-looking dinosaurs – animatronic replicas that blink their eyes, move their necks and tails, and open and close their mouths while letting out more than the occasional roar.

      Visitors to Jurassic Quest are greeted with everything from a 79-foot-long replica of an Apatosaurus, with a towering 30-foot-high stance and a gigantic tail that waggles within touching distance, to a red-crested Anchiornis, about a foot high and resembling an oversized rooster.

      “This one is very special to me,” said Marty Hoffman, 46, of College Station, Texas, dressed like an archaeologist and serving as a tour guide to the exhibit.

      “The reason why is the color. Most dinosaurs, we can know about their skin textures and features through the fossil record. But the color is just a guess,” he explained to a crowd of pre-teen followers.

      “This one we actually found fossilized feathers with the pigment still in them, so we could analyze it and tell it was red. For an animal that lived 100 million years ago, that is really impressive.”

      “Awesome,” said onlooker Riley Walker, 6, of Fort Wayne. “Did it turn into a chicken?”

      “Well, no,” said Hoffman. But now it might be possible through DNA manipulation to get a creature part-chicken and part-dinosaur, he said.

      “I don’t know how I feel about that,” he added.

      It’s that combination of education and entertainment that the event strives to bring to venues around the nation, said Dustin Baker, 31, of Los Angeles, manager of the show who travels with it all but five weeks a year. 

      “When you come in you see full, functional dinosaurs. You’re not seeing a fossil that was built up, but you’re seeing how these creatures would have existed. You get to stand next to one, and hear them. You kind of get moved to prehistoric Earth.”

      Baker said it takes 40 people to set up and take down the exhibit at each stop and staff the events, which include a carnival area with ride-on dinosaurs and dinosaur-themed bounce-house-style slides and skill games.

      There are also shows with pettable baby dinosaurs – actually hand puppets – and walking dinosaurs brought to life by costumed actors.

      Toddlers can dig for “fossils” in sand pits and teens and tweens can test their knowledge by playing dinosaur Jeopardy.

      With categories including “Herbivores,” “Carnivores,” “Geology” and “Fossils,” the game drew in Samantha Strong, 11, and her mom and dad, Beverly and Robert Strong of Albany.

      “I learned there are a lot of different kind of dinosaurs I’ve never heard of,” the fifth-grader said after finishing a round in which she beat out her parents by scoring 2,600 points.

      “I’m the expert,” she said.

--------This article was originally published by The Journal Gazatte


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