In all of my 26 years on this godforsaken planet, few experiences have scared the living shit out of me more than the first time I went on Jurassic Park River Adventure at Universal Studios in Florida.
For anyone unfamiliar with the long-running water ride, it ends with an enormous T-Rex emerging from the darkness and lunging towards your head, which for me is more terrifying that any number of rollercoaster loops. Don’t get me wrong: nine-year-old me loved that ride and probably demanded we did it again at least four times – but that giant robot dinosaur definitely wanted to eat everyone on my pathetic little raft.
I’m looking forward, then, to seeing how I fare when I potentially come face-to-face with another animatronic Tyrannosaurus in the brand new Dinosaurs in the Wild park, which is coming to the UK in June.
A combination of theatre, theme park and science, the attraction is headed up by the BBC’s long-running Walking with Dinosaurs brand. By merging live sets with the latest in computer-generated imagery and animatronics, the aim is to make visitors really feel as though they’re on a prehistoric adventure. It’s basically Jurassic Park, except in Birmingham and with safer toilets.
It’s educational; you can check scientifically researched examples of dinosaur teeth and even a full dinosaur arm. There will be nine dinosaurs on show, including the Triceratops, an Alamosaurus, the club-tailed Ankylosaurus (no idea either), and of course, the big bad T-Rex.
Actual palaeontologist Dr Darren Naish has been working closely with the creative and production teams to ensure that the experience, which has been in development for five years, is as authentic and up-to-date as possible.
Dinosaurs in the Wild will open to the public on Saturday 24 June at Birmingham’s NEC, before moving to EventCity in Manchester from 7 October. More information can be found here.
[Images via Dinosaurs in the Wild]