More than 40 lifelike animatronic dinosaurs that snarl and move – and some that spit – have taken up residence at the Detroit Zoo to provide a mega-dose of Vitamin Z for visitors of all ages. Dinosauria, presented by Children’s Hospital of Michigan, runs May 25 through Sept. 3, 2018. The blockbuster summer attraction – the largest outdoor dinosaur exhibit of its kind in the country – was last featured at the Zoo in 2015.
Visitors enter a veritable “zoorassic world” as they travel back in time along a lush, winding, 3-acre DinoTrail recreating prehistoric life. The enormous creatures lurk at every turn, including adult dinosaurs, youngsters and even a nest with eggs and hatchlings. The robotic dinosaurs are built on steel frames and covered with foam rubber skin painted in intricate detail. High-tech electronics and air pistons power the dinosaurs’ menacing claws and gnashing teeth while a sound system gives them their “voices”.
Dinosauria is open daily through Labor Day, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (until 8 p.m. Wednesdays in July and August). Tickets are $6 with Detroit Zoo admission for visitors ages 2 and older and are available at main admissions, the Dinosauria ticket booth or online.
A dino dig site and fossil-sifting station give budding paleontologists the opportunity to search for clues about the lives of dinosaurs. Kids can also build a dinosaur from magnetic parts. Knowledgeable volunteer DinoGuides are stationed along the DinoTrail where guests can examine dinosaur skulls, teeth, claws and other biofacts.
The DinoStore at the DinoTrail’s exit is stocked with dinosaur-themed T-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, games, gifts and other tempting remembrances to help visitors take the Dinosauria experience home.
The prehistoric adventure continues at the Wild Adventure Zone in the Ford Education Center. Featured at the 4-D Theater is “Sea Monsters 4-D: A Prehistoric Adventure”, a 15-minute movie that takes audiences back 82 million years for a look at the sea’s most dangerous predators. “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs – The Ride” at the Simulator Ride finds the sub-zero heroes from the worldwide blockbuster venturing into a mysterious underground world after Sid the sloth stumbles across three abandoned dinosaur eggs and decides to raise the hatchlings as his own. Tickets for both experiences are $5 with Detroit Zoo admission and are available at main admissions, the Wild Adventure Zone ticket booth or online.