Last weekend saw the launch of Manchester’s monster new attraction: Jurassic Kingdom.
The two week-long event sees around 30 full-scale, lifelike animatronic dinosaurs, from the Jurassic, Triassic and Cretaceous periods, descend on Philips Park, Clayton, transporting visitors back millions of years.
The exhibits include a gigantic T-Rex and towering diplodocus, which seemingly come to life before your eyes with roaring sound effects, snarling jaws, swishing tails and moving eyes, as part of a 60 minute walking tour.
“This is actually a UK premier it’s never been here before. This is the first time anyone has put on an outdoor animatronic dinosaur experience like this, and we wanted to create a day out that was both educational and entertaining,” said Weli Creative’s Event Director, Naz Kabir.
“It’s not often that you find an event that can combine the two so well, and we wanted to make sure that it was something that children could learn from and adults could enjoy.
“If you think about dinosaurs, whether you’re an adult or a child we all love dinosaurs. It’s something from the past, we study it at school, it’s something we’re all fascinated by.”
The event also includes an education marquee, showing a 30 minute BBC dinosaur documentary, a 9 dimensional virtual reality experience, where visitors can choose from about 20 different experiences, including a dinosaur rollercoaster, and an ‘excavation scene’.
“This great for young children, it’s almost like a sandpit, [they] can climb in and they can act like little palaeontologists and unearth a T-Rex fossil. It’s great,” said Kabir.
Each animatronic dinosaur is also accompanied by facts and information provided and verified by internationally renowned and multi award-winning palaeontologist, Dean Lomax, an honorary scientist at the University of Manchester.
“My passion is palaeontology and when I’m not teaching and talking about it, I’m travelling around the world looking for dinosaurs and more,” he said.
“I spend time in Manchester, so I’m delighted to see this fun, family event come to the city – I hope it ignites imagination and passion among visitors and encourages children to learn more about these wonderful creatures.
“I have provided the very latest information on the interpretation boards with regards to the particular dinosaurs on display. So when people stop to grab a picture next to one of these models, they can enjoy learning something new and exciting based on the latest research around these magnificent creatures.
“If we help inspire just a few more children to appreciate palaeontology and our wonderful planet, it’s a success.”
Manchester City Council’s Executive member for Culture & Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, also welcomed the event’s arrival in Manchester, saying: “We are delighted to welcome this exciting and unusual event to our famous park.
“Jurassic Kingdom offers another reason to enjoy our city’s great outdoors, have fun as a family and get some great pictures. I can’t wait to see the T-Rex myself.”
The T-Rex proved to be the highlight of the events opening day for many, with one visitor saying: “To see the size of the T-Rex up close and personal that has probably been the best bit for me.”
Other visitors were keen to encourage others to come and enjoy the Jurassic Kingdom.
“When you go to Manchester museum you always see the fossils and they are really impressive in the foyer, and this is just a great extension of that. So if you like going to the Manchester Museum then people will love it here because it just brings it to life,” said one visitor.
Jurassic Kingdom visits Manchester as part of a UK wide tour and hopes to bring its unique experience and excite a passion for all things prehistoric here and around the country.
“We opened Jurassic Kingdom in London in Easter, as part of a summer tour of the UK, and it did amazingly well, followed up in Birmingham with great numbers,” said Kabir.
“In Manchester, if we can achieve similar sorts of numbers to what we got in Birmingham, which was about 35,000 people over the two week period, we’ll be very happy with that.
“I think we can achieve that, the presales have been really strong and I think ‘touch wood’ it will be a great turn out.”
“It’s great to see so many people turning out for the first day. Everyone is having a good time, the sun is out, and everyone has got a smile on their face,” added Gary McCall from the event’s Marketing and Merchandise team.
“It’s just a great experience. What we know from the two previous events is that kids absolutely love dinosaurs.
“Seeing dinosaurs, life size, across the park I think it’s just something that the kids really enjoy.”
“I would urge as many people, families in particular with younger children, to come along and have a lovely day out,” said Kabir.
“There are so many other things that you might be able to do in Manchester but I would say that this is a very unique experience.
“It’s not often that you get outdoor animatronic dinosaurs, laid out and curated in a park environment like this, so it looks like the dinosaurs are in their natural habitat, and all of the hands-on experiences that are here.
“You can have a fantastic full day out, with the children, and really get your money’s worth. It really is value for money.”
The event runs from July 8-23, opening from 10-7 daily with last entry at 6pm.
For tickets or for more information visit www.jurassickingdom.uk