When we were kids, dinosaurs were something we saw pictures of in books. Sometimes they were cartoon creatures with human voices. Dinosaurs were, to the regular public, a creatively licensed, far fetched idea on par with aliens. Then in 1993, director Stephen Spielberg and the special effects team from Industrial Light and Magic pulled dinosaurs out of the confines of fossils and bones and inserted them living and breathing into our modern world. Jurassic Park boasted not only stunning visuals and an unforgettable score by John Williams, but it completely changed the way we view dinosaurs. Despite the movie's obvious warnings about the consequences of mixing wild prehistoric beasts in the human world, audiences responded with an intense desire to see more and more of dinosaurs, sparking an interest in paleontology that we don't doubt influenced many in the field today. Almost 20 years later, we were all excited to revisit Isla Nublar in Jurassic World, and once again be chased by dinosaurs, if only for the chance to be near these amazing creatures.
Like the movies, Jurassic World: The Exhibition is a groundbreaking game changer for both the lifelike animatronics (created by Creature Technology) and the immersive exhibit experience. The lines are long at The Franklin Institute (even with timed tickets), but we can't say we've ever been to a special museum exhibit that has been so worth the wait! From the moment you step through the iconic Jurassic Park (World) gates, it becomes everything you always hoped a trip to a fictitious Isla Nublar would be.
The experience starts off with a bang as you enter the the Gentle Giants area and are greeted with a life sized Brachiosaurus just overhead. It's at that moment that you realize that this is not your average dinosaur exhibit. The plant eating dinosaurs like (our favorite!) the Parasaurolophus and a extremely mighty Triceratops with its offspring breath, roar, look around, and move at what seems to be completely random times (and it may have been our imagination, but it seemed like they also reacted in response to movement and noise from the visitors). Lovers of the first movie will appreciate the opportunity to stick their hand in a pile of "triceratops dung" - and yes, it's quite warm inside.
Around a corner, visitors next get the opportunity to see the inside of the Hammond Lab where a wall of amber is displayed (giving you a quick reminder of how these dinosaurs came about from preserved DNA - a stretch from the actual science of genetics and paleontology). Also in the lab are incubating dinosaur eggs as well as moving newborn baby dinos.
From that point you are escorted to the Raptor pen to watch a handler demonstrate its ability to follow some basic training and directions. This is a fairly creepy experience as the pen is empty when you enter the room. Those looking for the most up close encounter with a Raptor should try to position themselves in front of the pen (and be ready, because she doesn't always follow her handler's directions). As for ourselves, we never fully recovered from the suspense of a certain "being hunted in a kitchen" scene, so we hung back a little.
Next stop is a visit to the might T-Rex. BUT, OH NO! There is something going wrong on the Isla Nublar, and unfortunately the feed is cut off before we can get a full warning not to enter the area near the Tyrannosaurus pen. A step through the doors immediately makes you aware that there is a crashed jeep, a fallen fence, and an eerie lack of T-Rex. This is one of our favorite parts of the entire exhibit as you hear the familiar crash of footsteps approaching. Then suddenly the famous T-Rex enters, roaring and on the hunt. (Yup - time to run!)
|(Photo: The Franklin Institute)|
An escape from the T-Rex brings you face to face with a giant Stegosaurus - which is cool until you realize that there is no fence between you and the dinosaurs anymore. Plus there seems to be something really bad going on ahead. There's a wild dinosaur that you've never seen in your textbooks loose and on the rampage - and it's looking for you! Will you survive an attack from the Indominus Rex?? (It was a narrow getaway for us!)
In all honesty, Jurassic World: The Exhibition is all it's hyped up to be. "The Closest You Will Ever Come to Living Dinosaurs"?? Absolutely! After all, they spared no expense...
Jurassic World: The Exhibition is on display at The Franklin Institute through April 23rd.
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