By Kerry Law
A time portal appears to have opened up on the Greenwich Peninsula and it’s ready to transport your dinosaur-loving kids 67 million years back in time.
Dinosaurs in the Wild is a fantastic immersive experience combining live action, animatronic creatures and impressive 3D effects. Already a hit in Birmingham and Manchester last year, Dinosaurs in the Wild has now begun its London run in North Greenwich and is on until 31 July 2018.
The Jurassic Park-style experience brings you up close to ‘real’ dinosaurs and will no doubt be loved by young fans of CBeebies show Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures. It’s underpinned by a neat backstory involving a scientist who invents time travel and founds the fictional company Chronotex Enterprises, which now takes tourists on dinosaur safaris in the late Cretaceous period. You and your fellow time travellers will meet Chronotex employees, who invite you into the time machine to begin your safari and tour the company’s research station, TimeBase 67. There are some real scientific facts to be learnt throughout Dinosaurs in the Wild, so budding palaeontologists will have plenty to satisfy them.
Without wanting to give away anything in the plot (the uncertainty and surprise is all part of the fun), you’ll spot dinosaurs including Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops in their natural habitat as you travel to TimeBase 67, before touring the laboratories where scientists are studying the ‘real life’ dinosaurs—you’ll get a chance to see some dinosaur eggs hatch, peruse bone and feather samples, and squelch some dino poo!
More gruesome encounters are made during a dinosaur autopsy and the quarantine areas where more ‘live’ specimens are kept in cages. At several points along the tour, adults may pick up on some of the jokey little details (the messy blood store in the lab, the ominous claw marks on the specimen crates, the plaque dedicated to those who have lost their lives in pursuit of scientific discovery), signalling that perhaps this tourist experience won’t go as smoothly as expected.
Our guides (the actors) are very good at staying in character and helping immerse us all in this experience. You can quiz them about dinosaurs and learn some surprising new facts. Try and spot those who seem a little worried about the rare abundance of T-Rex but are keeping a brave face for the time-travelling tourists.
It’s worth mentioning the age suitability as there are some scary moments at some points during the 70-minute experience. Dinosaurs in the Wild is recommended for children aged 5 and upwards, although plenty of 3- and 4-year-olds have enjoyed it. Parental discretion is recommended for under 5s, so if you’re unsure, have a read through the FAQs on the website. Our 3-year-old did, although the finale was perhaps a little too realistic for him—some extra reassurance, which our guides also provided, was needed (I must add that any fear quickly evaporated when exiting through the gift shop!). The experience isn’t recommended for children aged 2 and under (although young ‘babes in arms’ should be fine).
Dinosaurs in the Wild culminates in a trip to the viewing platform, giving visitors a 360-degree view of the dinosaur-rich plains surrounding the HQ. The 3D effects are impressive and there’s a lot of dinosaur behaviour to observe—just keep your eyes on that second T-Rex and do everything the Chronotex staff tell you. You should be fine; the journey home is only 67 million years away…
Tickets: Children aged 3 to 15, £26 (off-peak £22); adults, £29 (off-peak £25); family ticket (two adults and two children), £95 (off-peak £85).
To book, call 0844 854 1355 or online at www.dinosaursinthewild.com, where you can find all visitor information.