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Erth’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo at QPAC

Christmas may be over but the school holidays certainly aren’t extinct so I thought it was time to dig up something special for the kids.

As much as we love the usual movie/beach/theme park/backyard water-fights/bedroom-cleaning options (OK, maybe not the last one), I wanted to find something different. Something the kids had never experienced before. That something turned out to be an hour of gi-normous funosaurus at Erth’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo.

Only until 20 January, QPAC is now playing host to this amazing creature feature, where plenty of scary, scaly creatures gather for the kids to pat, feed, and help care for. Realistic puppets take the place of the real thing but small children should be warned that they are sometimes just as terrifying!

Before the show started we headed to the colouring-in tables (not forgetting to enter the competition). We could hear all kinds of strange and mysterious sounds coming from the enclosure nearby. What was that? A bird? A giant grasshopper? A pterodactyl?? We couldn’t wait to step back in time and see what was lurking beneath that giant green canopy.

Finally we were seated and greeted by our host and dinosaur-keeper, Shep, a dynamic and vivacious guide who took us on our exciting journey. Shep was having as much fun as we were, demonstrating that he could handle both the reptilian and ankle-biting kinds of monsters with an expert confidence that parents enjoyed as much as the littlies.

The performance dusts off a convivial atmosphere from the very beginning, where members of the audience are invited to tell their favourite dinosaur joke. The mood then turns to anticipation and intrigue as the first dinosaurs are brought out, then later switches to a raucous bag of bone-chilling shrieks (all in the name of fun) when the largest lizard erupts onto stage and almost T-wrecks the place.

It may have been 65 million years in the making but Erth’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo is most definitely worth the wait. The puppets are marvellous to watch, with clever mechanics that make them appear soft and leathery with life-like movements and actions. Although it is obvious that they are not real dinosaurs, the awed reactions of the children when they see the creatures is undoubtedly genuine. This highly energetic show provides centuries of fun and interactivity in a welcome environment that is thrilling for children and hilarious for adults. The dinosaur facts are interesting enough to keep the children amused, and the overall experience is one that nobody will forget in a hurry. See it before it gets wiped out.

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