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I went to a real-life Jurassic Park, and you can too

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Gary Ogden
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I went to a real-life Jurassic Park, and you can too

I, what with being a human being and all, like dinosaurs. I have liked dinosaurs for a very long time - as soon as I found out what they were, essentially. Oh, giant monsters will big sharp teeth that fight each other? Hmmmmm, I wonder if I will like these creatures that have seemingly been designed solely to please children. YES, yes I will, and yes I did, and yes I do.

I’ve seen all the dinosaur films, I had all the dinosaur toys, and can do all the dinosaur impressions (ask me next time we’re out) and I don’t think this obsession will ever stop. Which is why, as an adult, I went to Dinosaurs In the Wild, an attraction by the 02 arena that is, yes, ostensibly, for children. But it’s also for not-children, because I’m here to tell you that it was great.

What you’re getting with Dinosaurs In The Wild, is a 90-minute dino extravaganza, where you head back in time to a world populated with dinosaurs that I think are real, because it’s all too good to be fake. I think that maybe, maybe, I might have actually gone back in time. The pint I had afterwards didn’t go down very well and I assume that must have been something to do with the side-effects of time-travel, and not the sambuca the night before.

In case you were wondering, you start off in some sort of research facility in the middle of south east London, before jumping in a time travelling truck and ending up surrounded by all your favourite dinos. Then you head into a big old lab and get up close and personal with a bunch more captive dinosaurs, both dead and alive. After that, various people in overalls say ominous things like “Make sure nobody heads to the viewing station” and “We’ve noticed some unusual t-rex activity” and you get all excited because you know something’s going to go wrong. 

I don’t know how much money this whole thing cost, but it’s pretty damn impressive - like, it’s massive. And there are dinosaurs everywhere. It’s not cheap to hire dinosaurs nowadays, because most of them are dead after the War.

Anyway, not to spoil the experience for you (because you’re definitely going to go, why wouldn’t you, obviously you are going, there are dinosaurs), but here’s what to expect of the experience, in the form of my favourite bits:

  • They give you special glasses to shield you from UV rays.  One idiot thought they were 3D glasses but the dinosaurs were real so we wouldn’t even need those to see them. Some people
  • Turns out dinosaurs don’t take kindly to big trucks being driven through their front garden. Maybe stay at home if you suffer from motion sickness or once had your wing-mirror ripped off by a lion at Longleat
  • You can put big gloves on and play with dinosaur poo if, like me, you are an adult and this appeals to you
  • There are a number of jars of tyrannosaurus jizz. Yes, no spelling mistake, this is dino sperm - I presume kids don’t know what ‘seminal fluid’ means, so it’s entirely appropriate to have it on display at a children’s attraction
  • You get to see a dino autopsy, which again, is real
  • There are some baby dinosaurs which are, yes, real, because I do not understand how they work otherwise
  • The viewing station is massive and amazing and there are dinosaurs everywhere, including a T-Rex gang that really take it too far in the end, if I’m being honest

If there was anything I didn’t like about the experience, it was probably:

  • A poor little baby triceratops gets absolutely decked and killed in front of its mum and it really bummed everyone out
  • Some of the people you meet along the way are doing some ‘acting’, make no mistake

But I happily dealt with that in the face of all the good stuff. Here, look at all this fun:

(If you look closely, you will be able to see some ‘dinosaurs’)

This is top stuff, this, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve got kids or not (although they are a great excuse) - if you like dinosaurs, then you will like this. I like them, and I liked it. It’s simple prehistoric maths.

If you fancy wrapping your eyes around a whole bunch of dino mayhem (including jars of their you-know-what), then it’s on until the end of July so grab your tickets here. In fact, get me one too because I want to go again. I have seen real dinosaurs and am convinced time travel is real now.

(Image: Dinosaurs In The Wild)

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Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the screaming thing though. @garyblogden

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