SET IN a state-of-the-art landscape and real-life environment, Dinos Alive World Tour Manila relived the dinosaur era as life-size dinosaurs were displayed last Nov. 28 to Jan. 11 at the Block 5 of SM Mall of Asia.

The exhibit covered 12,000 square meters (equivalent to 30 basketball courts), which featured realistic replicas of dinosaurs and other by-gone creatures. It aimed to provide the audience with a better understanding of the larger-than-life inhabitants of Earth during the prehistoric times.

“Dinos Alive gives visitors the chance to learn more about dinosaurs, rather than seeing them merely in books, cartoons, and the internet. It provides them a more detailed encounter with the creatures’ actual size and appearance,” said Adrian Ong, regional events executive of the Maxx Entertainment, a Malaysian company which organized the exhibit.

The dinosaur exhibit occupied the empty lot in front of the SMX Convention Center. The construction of the exhibit took three months.

“Block 5 gradually transformed into a realistic gallery of 31 life size dinosaurs, fountains, forests, and lost city theme conceptualized by Theme Park Conceptualization or Theme Entertainment – a locally based company,” Ong told the Varsitarian.

Instant adventure

One would not miss seeing the gigantic façade of Dinos Alive, as a giant green dinosaur and a waterfall coming from a huge rock formation greets the audience. The entrance also focused on fossils of dinosaurs and real iguanas with its prehistoric-themed lobby. This served as visitors’ briefing area for a dinosaur adventure that awaits them inside.

The lobby boasts a giant replica of the Tyrannosaurus (T-Rex), which was based on the fossils that were found in North America in 2001.

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“The replica of T-Rex skeleton is made of glass fiber and is created to look like the actual measurements of the fossil found by scientists,” Ong said.

Roaring dinosaurs

The first highlight zone of the exhibit features 31 dinosaurs, composed of 18 moving robots, 10 dinosaur models, and three electronic animal character units. The moving dinosaurs were electronically programmed using Japanese technology and controlled by air pressure and motors. They were also made of Latex and painted according to the colors scientists perceive them. To make the gallery appear more prehistoric, roaring sounds and light effects were also installed.

“Although not all the dinosaurs are of the actual size, we tried to make them appear as much size as when they were discovered, making them more realistic,” Ong said.

The lobby was connected to a tunnel that would lead to the first stage of the Dino Adventure Zone. Dino Zone 1 featured gigantic dinosaurs like Triceratops, a three-horned dinosaur, Stegosaurus, a 30-feet long spine-covered dinosaur, and Suchomimus, a water dinosaur that fed on ancient species of fishes.

The main attraction of the Dino Zone 1 was the giant robotic model of a T-Rex, the world’s largest known predator. It measured 5 meters in height and 15 meters in length and was programmed to roar loud and show its big teeth and jaw to “scare” people.

“The giant T-Rex was the one used in Jurassic Park movie as well as other dinosaurs such as the Velociraptors,” Ong said.

Another tunnel led to the second division of Dino Adventure Zone, where some of the tallest and unusual species of dinosaurs like the 40-feet tall Brachiosaurus, which had a neck longer than a giraffe; Aeolosaurus, a dinosaur which had 9 vertebrae in the neck and 14 in the back that is perfect for enormous amount of diet; and Ankylosaurus, which had armored body to protect itself from other dinosaurs.

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The tallest and longest dinosaur ever discovered , Apatosaurus (Bronteosaurus), which measured 75 feet long and 5 meters in height, was represented by a robotic model.

Learning about dinosaurs

Capping the Dino adventure tour were different activities related to dinosaur researches such as the Dino Fossil Dig, Train Ride, Simulator Ride, and Theater.

The Dino Fossil Dig gave kids the chance to work like real archaeologists, searching for dinosaur remains in a 10 meter area of sand. Around the Dino Fossil Dig was a 50-meter-long Dino Train made of Triceratops body, which gave kids a fun ride.

The Dino Simulator Ride was a five-minute ride accompanied by a movie about dinosaurs’ existence. In there, kids would be able to feel like they were riding real dinosaurs as the machine simulated real dinosaur movements.

Just beside the ride was the Dino Theater that showed a 15-minute dinosaur movie titled “Dinky Dino.” It featured the lifestyle of different dinosaurs, their diet, their ways of living, and of survival. It also showed the meteor shower theory hypothesized by scientists, which is believed to have caused the dinosaurs’ extinction.

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