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Dinosaurs unleashed in London
Dinosaurs will never be extinct in the minds of children. Judging from the amount of dino-themed books and puzzles or movies, wall charts, toys and models available, nothing inspires a chld's imagination more than the over-sized, prehistoric beasties that roamed and ruled the earth 65 million years ago.
The very moment my ten-year-old son, John, was let loose from school last Friday we were off to see Dinosaurs Unleashed at The O2. Some of the animatronics were previewed in Oxford Street last year and attracted more than 100,000 visitors. Now they’re back, bigger and better in what’s been billed as the UK’s largest animatronic dinosaur adventure, featuring more than 22 life-size dinosaurs including Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Megalosaurus, the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex and the giant Diplodocus, which is three times the length of a double-decker bus.
Most impressive of all, however was our tour guide Kat. Before she led us through the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, Kat sussed out that a boy my son’s age would know an awful lot about dinosaurs and she let him show off his dino experience to full effect, intuitively adding in choice details when needed. She asked John to make a fist and explained how it was larger than a Diplodocus brain, she pointed a herd of little Othnielia hiding in the trees, revealed what a real Velociraptor would look like and taught us how to tell if a creature was a dinosaur or not just by looking at their legs - it’s something to do with press-ups, but you’ll have to see for yourself if you want to know more.
After our tour, we did another circuit to interact with the holographic video presentations at each corner featuring wildlife expert Chris Packham and then tested our skill and knowledge on the quiz games. There are age-specific sheets to fill in, real and replica fossils to unearth and the chance to colour a dinosaur skin at the interactive Dino-Paint zone. The animatronics were particularly convincing, as was the CGI prehistoric aquarium where Liopleurodon and Cryptoclidus swam alongside us, while on the opposite wall we could peer at real marine fossils of giant squid and ammonites.
Dinosaurs Unleashed runs from February until July 31 at The 02, Meridian Gardens, Peninsula Square, open daily from 10am to 6pm. Final admission between 4pm and 4.30pm.