This past weekend Tom, the baby, my sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew, and I piled in a van and headed down to the local fairgrounds for a traveling dinosaur exhibit. The radio and tv ads promised lots of learning AND rides on dinosaurs – the best of both worlds.
When we got there, we learned that it costs more to earn the right to ride on the dinosaurs and play in the bouncy castle, which everyone knows has been around since the late Jurassic era. So, we passed on the rides and stuck to the exhibit.
The exhibit consisted of a bunch of animatronic dinosaurs split up and displayed in various combinations of painted backdrops and fake plants – in one giant room. They all made noise and all had hot spotlights on them. I don’t know how the real dinosaurs got any sleep – all that screeching and light.
“Oh, come on,” you’re saying, “twenty-some animatronic screeching dinosaurs in an enclosed space doesn’t seem like it’d be that loud.” Well, first, don’t go making assumptions about the level of noise robots can make in a room, and second, you didn’t give me time to mention that they were also playing a movie over all the noise, too. That movie was Dinosaur, and it was turned up to eleven.
It was sort of like if you went to a nice eight course meal, but it was all served to you in one big trough, so it’s hard to say if it was actually delicious or not.
What did we see there? Here’s the two, uh, highlights?
The huge and ferocious Spinosaurus may have been an even larger predator than the T-Rex. Impressive, huh? Well, I’ll tell you what I was impressed by: their fabulous, colorful, rainbow-striped spine decoration that looks nothing like the rest of the body:
A dinosaur that looks like a graffiti artist got to him while he was sleeping? Awesome. Unfortunately, when I looked him up on wikipedia, none of the artist renderings include this 1980s roller skating rink-ready spine sculpture – they’re all natural looking and shit. Not only that, but even the info plaque from it’s own exhibit didn’t look the same:
This one doesn’t look like Lisa Frank’s evolutionary ancestor like the display one does.
Now I just don’t know what to think. I suppose that’s just what comes with having to guess what dinosaurs looked like based on their bones. We’ll never know the truth.
I think the most striking image was the realism of the T-Rex. The creators of this dinobot obviously worked really hard to capture the sad, flaccid, useless little arms they had. Science and animatronics prove that they kind of depressingly moved them around, trying to figure out what they could possibly use them for, in a very rhythmic motion. This made prey feel sorry for them, and when they would go to comfort the T-Rex, SUCKAH – they got eaten.
You can see how wily they were – they even shook their heads as if to say “no, no, I have no idea what to do with these two sad twigs attached to my chest, woe is me.” It’s why they’re called Nature’s Most Guilt Trip-iest Predator.
After an afternoon of heavy learning and extremely loud noise, we headed home, my head filled with amazing facts I made up and jumped to conclusions about. You’re never too old to pay a little too much to have your senses assaulted…with information.