We arrived around 6 PM in the early dusk to find the tables set up for food and drink as more and more people trickled in. The Zoo's Executive Director, Tony Vecchio, gave a brief talk about the exhibit and then welcomed us to follow the docents on the dinosaur trail.
There were 21 different semi-audioanimatronic recreations of dinosaurs from the Triassic and Cretaceous periods, from the small Microraptor (only 3 feet long) to the enormous Spinosaurus (59 feet long). And, of course, the trail ended with the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex—much to the delight of the children scattered along the way. It is correct to say these figures were both audio and mobile because strange roarings and barkings and hissings issued from each creature. And all of the figures had at least one or two moveable parts, like tiny flailing arms, or menacingly lowering jaws, and heaving breathing movements.
Signage for each dinosaur gave facts about the creatures that separated myth from real knowledge, such as the actual ignorance of paleontologists to say how these creatures actually sounded or how much color was displayed in their hides.
Each recreation was cleverly displayed among real and artificial greenery which could camouflage various body parts or allow light to shine on other segments of the creature. Each one seemed to loom out of a jungle-like environment and created surprise and excitement among all of us, children and children at heart.
After walking through the increasing darkness and the thickening no-seeums (gnats) which really could bite us and did with some ferocity, we were then led on to the delicious buffet prepared by the Zoo's own Head Chef and his staff. We had tangy skewers of shrimp and chicken, tasty small pizza bites, creamy and delicious macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets with all the trimmings, and other goodies. Meanwhile, the bar had opened with wine and beer as well as some cocktails and soft drinks as well as fruit juices.
It was a delightful and unexpected evening and we have great hopes that the Dinosauria Exhibit running from March through July this year will be a big success and raise extra money for the Zoo's budget. We were even thinking we needed to visit the venue again so that we can read the signage more easily in the daylight.