Suspend reality for an hour (give or take) and immerse yourself into a special “tour” of Isla Nublar, aka Jurassic World – the island park where dinosaurs live thanks to the work of the fictional Hammond Creation Lab as inspired by the Jurassic franchise.
When: Until 2 October 2016, tours start every 30 minutes and start from 10am – 4pm. Open daily except Good Friday.
Where: Melbourne Museum, Carlton Gardens, Nicholson Street CARLTON
Cost: child $22, adult $34, family $90 (include 2 adults and 2 children) children under 3 are FREE book tickets here
This is not a regular Museum experience or exhibition. Don’t expect to be presented with detailed information coupled with science and history. Don’t expect interactive games and tactile experiences for the kids. But do expect to leave with your heart racing.
This is an immersive experience unlike any other, not a dry lesson on geology and dinosaurs. You will be required to use your imagination, have a sense of adventure and be prepared to go along on a make-believe journey.
The media release sums it up perfectly:
This is a stunning entertainment experience that blends real-life science and education with the very best in high-quality entertainment. Audiences will marvel at the incredible ingenuity behind these animatronic creatures while being swept up in the magic, the drama, and the thrill of Jurassic World.
So what do you need to know before taking the kids?
- Go to the bathroom before you go in. There are no bathrooms inside – and the ingenious crowd flow management that is in place means that leaving the island and then returning to where you left may not always be straightforward (depending on where you are within the tour)
- There is a green screen photography set up as you enter the exhibition – they may have samples for you to look at, but when we went they didn’t, so my kids decided to look like fierce lions (for some unknown reason) and so our photo’s look a bit demented! There is no need to pull a face of any sort (unless you want to).
- The first section of the exhibition is a bit of a holding pod – cleverly disguised as a boat ride over to Isla Nublar. During the boat ride you meet your tour guide who gives you a bit of a briefing about the tour you are about to take – initially I was a little taken aback by her American accent, but then Jurassic World is an American concept so once I made the connection it made sense.
- And then the boat arrives and you exit onto the Island to begin your tour. Because of the exciting nature of the exhibition – and especially if you are with young children – it’s incredibly tempting to run ahead and see what is around the next corner. BUT once you pass through the Hammond Creation Lab you can no longer return to go back and see the dinosaurs in that first half again – so if you would like to revisit any of the early dinosaurs make sure you take your time to explore and re-explore before you enter the room for the T-Rex briefing.
- The tour guide regularly pops up on screens throughout the exhibition and she both tells the story of the dinosaurs, creates the drama for the experience and provides an overall flow and script.
- After the T-Rex briefing (which is at most 10 minutes long) you move into the T-Rex paddock. Be prepared. If you have nervous little ones who are likely to be disturbed you are probably wise to scoot through to the next room (and make sure you go with another adult so you can return and watch the T-Rex in all its glory). The kids and I watched the T-Rex’s “performance” about three times and it really was magnificent – be sure to hang back and watch him hiding in the darkness after he’s finished his routine as the animatronics are amazing… even though he was just quietly waiting he was still breathing and moving, turning his head ever-so-slightly to get a better look at us, maybe deciding if we looked tasty – and this “sizing up” was just as spooky as when he was out in the light gnashing his teeth!
- After the T-Rex you are nearing the end. The last room features a very gentle giant – who seemed to want a pat – and then another friend of T-Rex who had escaped over in the corner… and then it’s time to exit into the gift shop.
- Be sure to check out the 70 million-year-old Sauropod femur bone that you’re invited to touch.
- You might want to take a video in spots – but overall the lighting made photography incredibly challenging. I know looking back at my own photos was terribly disappointing and a very poor representation of what we saw.
While I find dinosaurs fascinating I’ve never been obsessed with them, but honestly, I couldn’t stop talking about Jurassic World for days afterward. The level of detail within the dinosaurs themselves (and that in the foliage and props around them) and the incredible animatronics just made them immensely watchable. Their movements included muscles tensing, breathing, nostrils flaring, eye contact – sometimes they appeared to be watching us, or appeared startled by something and then on occasion they acted indifferent – it was a bit like a visit to the zoo!
This is not just an exhibition for kids – anyone with a sense of adventure and an interest in the prehistoric world will take something away from this journey.
Creature Technology Company is responsible for bringing the dinosaurs to life. Founded in 2006, and working out of a nondescript factory in Melbourne Australia, Creature Technology Company is producing the most technologically sophisticated, creatively inspired and life-like animatronic creatures for exhibitions, arena spectaculars, theme parks, stage shows and events in the world.