The Colony—Jurassic World: The Exhibition is billed as the closest you will come to living dinosaurs.
Of course, the brachiosaurus, the velociraptor and the ever-popular tyrannosaurus rex now on display inside a 20,000-square-foot tent at Grandscape in The Colony are not really living, breathing prehistoric animals. But they are extraordinarily realistic and big.
The exhibition, which began June 18 and is open until Sept. 5, gives visitors a chance to stroll (or walk briskly, depending on their fear levels) through what feels like a ‘Jurassic Park’ movie, one of cinema’s most successful franchises.
Guests can get a close up look at these creatures. They’re life-size, move anatomically, and can be extraordinarily loud, like the towering brachiosaurus. That’s the first dinosaur to greet patrons upon arrival through the Jurassic World gates as composer John Williams’ music filling the air.
“That’s the part that gives me chills,” Stephen Shaw, founder and co-president of Round Room Live, said. They, along with Cityneon, are most responsible for the exhibition.
“I love the raptors, the T. Rex, many of the other incredible pieces of the show,” Shaw said. “But walking through the gates and hearing the score overhead, there’s something magical about that.”
Early in the exhibition, which moves patrons from one room to another, visitors get a chance to visit with a toddler parasaurolophus and other baby dinosaurs, like Bumpy, the ankylosaurus from the Netflix series ‘Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous.’ Workers are stationed in different rooms cradling the newborn dinosaurs.
“Isn’t she adorable?” a worker named Maggie asked about Bumpy. “She is very friendly and food motivated. Some of her favorites are the various berries that grow here at Jurassic World. This newborn may be able to fit in our arms right now, but do not underestimate her size. She will soon grow to be 30 feet long and 12 feet tall. That might sound scary, but don’t worry.”
Young children will love Bumpy, but it should be noted the larger dinosaurs, especially when they roar, might frighten some younger kids.
“Yes, there are some areas that might scare little ones,” Shaw said. “But this is all family-friendly fun and perfect for all ages. I’ve taken my six-year-olds in the past, and they have loved every minute of it.”
Elsewhere in the exhibit is an incubator room showing “baby” dinosaurs and eggs yet to be hatched. There is also a kind of holding room for those frisky raptors, as well as a staged “eating time” for a dinosaur that rises from behind a large gate to chomp on a massive side of meat.
The legendary T. Rex has its own glorious introduction; as the workers react to the T. Rex “breaching the gate” and patrons are asked to take cover.
“Whatever you do,” screams one of the workers, as a T. Rex arrives, showing hundreds of teeth, “don’t look him directly in the eyes.”
Patrons also have an opportunity to play ‘Jurassic World Alive,’ a location-based augmented reality game on their devices. They can locate the ‘Jurassic World: The Exhibition’ incubator, a capsule that contains resources, as an in-game reward. They can then snap a picture or take a video of a dinosaur using the game’s AR features and post it to social media.
“This is all about the total experience,” Paul Monroe, who worked as the tour’s marketing consultant, said.
Monroe helped with nailing down a location, which was not easy, he said. Initially they wanted it in downtown Dallas, near the Perot Museum, “but there wasn’t enough space for it,” he said. “But here at Grandscape, this is prime real estate.”
He expects about 500,000 plus visitors during its run.
Monroe also said this exhibit is a bit different from years past. ‘Jurassic World: The Exhibition’ has been around since 2016, beginning in Melbourne, Australia. Since then it has toured in cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Paris, Madrid, and Seoul.
But this one in The Colony is a world premiere of sorts, partly because it has been revamped and refreshed with animatronics and a more personal, interactive presentation.
“I’ve promoted circuses, worked for the Mavericks for a few years,” Monroe said. “But this is by far the neatest thing I’ve ever done.”
You can view photos from the exhibit below:
Photos by Kenneth Perkins and John Starkey