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Dinosaurs come to life at Woodland Park Zoo

  • Written by Deborah Stone
T-Rex
Tyrannosaurus rex is part of the “Dinosaurs. Real Close” at Woodland Park Zoo. Courtesy photo.
Journey back in time and discover life-size, animatronic creatures that roar, snarl, hiss, spit and move with the "Dinosaurs. Real Close" experience at Woodland Park Zoo.

The new, limited-engagement exhibit developed by Billings Productions, Inc. evokes a primeval forest where visitors will encounter more than 10 colorful dinosaurs from the giant, 19-foot-tall Brachiosaurus to the fearsome, full size Tyrannosaurus rex.

Some are accompanied by their babies such as Styracosaurus, Dilophosaurus and Tyrannosaurus, and there’s even a nest full of Edmontosaurus peeping hatchlings.

The dinosaurs represent seven species that once roamed North America during the Cretaceous and Jurassic periodS.

As visitors stroll through the outdoor setting, they will learn about the amazing adaptations that allowed dinosaurs to exist for millions of years and that connect them to the modern birds of today.

The curious-minded can head to Zoomazium to get a peek at the inner workings of the animatronic dinosaurs and explore the robotic wizardry beneath the shell of one of the robots.

Special programs, from keeper chats to dinosaur biofact exploration, will allow visitors to delve deeper into the science of dinosaurs and find links to some of the living species at the zoo.

Though these creatures ruled the earth for millions of years, their demise helps to shine a light on the massive extinction crisis many species are facing right now, from birds to turtles.

Though they’ve outlasted dinosaurs, turtles are going extinct faster than any other vertebrate terrestrial today.

Through this exhibit, visitors will gain information about the current extinction crisis and ways Woodland Park Zoos is working to protect wildlife around the globe and in our own backyard.

"There are many exhibits out there about dinosaurs," comments Rebecca Whitham, public relations coordinator for the zoo. "We are taking the perspective that they were living animals and looking at what made them so successful for so many millions of years. How did they adapt to their environment? And then we’re going a step further and focusing on the rapid extinction of other creatures that is happening today, and examining the steps we can take to prevent it from occurring."

"Dinosaurs. Real Close." is part of the zoo’s "Get Real Close" summer experience, highlighting exciting opportunities for the public to get close to nature and go eye-to-eye with a number of different animals.

Among such opportunities is the chance to feed browse (plant materials) to an elephant, feel the tug of a giraffe’s 18-inch tongue at a feeding experience, take a guided safari tour of the African Savanna exhibit and experience the breeze of the barn owl’s wings at the free-flight raptor program.

"Dinosaurs, Real Close" runs through September 5 at Woodland Park Zoo.

For more information, www.zoo.org or (206) 548-2500.

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