News Column

Let nature thrill you goes her

July 31, 2014

THEY HAVE inspired blockbuster movies and countless kids who have grown up to become archaeologists. Indiana Jones and Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park may have catapulted them on to the big screen, but even before then dinosaurs and other fantastical creatures extinct for millions of years, were the talk of Victorian parlours and Edwardian schoolrooms.

But why do dinosaur bones, cretaceous plants and the swimming plesiosaurus still capture the imagination of both young and old?

The Days of the Dinosaur exhibition at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, which starts its three-week run today, will probably answer that question.

Visitors can expect 55 tons of life-size, moving, roaring dinosaurs from today until August 20.

"It's not just about seeing life-size dinosaurs. The exhibits have been designed to show people how dinosaurs really would have lived and moved centuries ago in their natural habitats," says Edmund Beukes, co-ordinator for the organisation of the exhibition.

Beukes says the objective of the exhibition is to allow children and adults alike to discover renewed appreciation for the fascinating creatures that roamed the planet for more than 100 million years.

"The information presented in the exhibition has been put together by some of the world's top palaeontologists and promises to hold a few interesting surprises for everyone," he says.

Due to the highly technical nature of the displays, Days of the Dinosaur takes six full days of 12-hour shifts to set up and requires the services of 25 riggers, scaffolders, technicians and support staff.

The 3 600m2 exhibition has been designed with the specific aim of being respectful of scientific research without missing the delightful, entertaining side of nature's evolution.

It includes 45 dinosaurs distributed in 12 scenes, two skeletons and seven dinosaurs in the interactive area.

Beukes says during the exhibition visitors also have access to a 3D movie, a dinosaur-themed |entertainment and food area, and a children's play area.

Organisers want the audience to live and share an experience more exciting than visiting a museum. Visitors should look out for body movements - some of the models move their eyes, tongues and fingers depending on how they have been programmed.

The dinosaurs are built under strict requirements. Each exhibit - from the selection of species quantity, size, movements and routine - is informed by the advice of the palaeontology team.

l Tickets for weekends have already been sold out, but weekday slots are available from Computicket. Prices range from R95 for children to R145 for adults, or R395 |for a family of two adults and two children.

Features Writer

Cape Argus

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Source: Cape Argus (South Africa)

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