On Tuesday it was Molly’s 10th birthday and we celebrated by visiting the VIP opening evening of Dinosaurs in the Wild at the NEC. It was an incredible evening and something completely different from anything we had experienced before. Dinosaurs in the Wild is an amazing opportunity to step back in time and feel like you are really viewing dinosaurs in the wild.
The first view of the Dinosaurs in the Wild really sets the scene for the whole experience. The venue has an industrial feel and as soon as you step inside it feels like you are in a real working base.
You wait for the tour guide and then are split into different groups. We were really excited to be the first to enter. As we were there for a preview event, I can’t comment on how long waiting times are. However, our groups were guided in efficiently and each area was carefully managed so groups kept moving.
There is a real attention to detail throughout the experience. There are several safety videos to watch and posters around the area, these little details really contributed to the feeling that you were really about to travel through time. Once inside, it lasts around 70 minutes and there are no toilets, definitely something to bear in mind with younger children.
The first thing that happens is that you are taken into the time machine. This is a 4D immersive ride which makes you really feel like you have travelled in time. You travel in one of the vehicles wearing 3D glasses. You pass by herds of dinosaurs and even under some of them. The look of delight on the children’s faces is wonderful.
From that moment you are in TimeBase 67. There is a detailed backstory about how the base was set up, presented in the operations room.
Once inside the base, there is a dinosaur autopsy and then a chance to poke around the science labs. These have so many interesting things to look at. There are microscopes with dinosaur blood and body parts to take a closer look at. There is a large (very realistic looking) dinosaur claw, which gives you a sense of the size of the dinosaurs.
Even bigger is the giant heart in a jar which you can turn on and get to beat.
There is even dinosaur dung which you can feel with the gloves, if you really want too.
The next room was our favourite. There were lots of eggs in large incubators. The eggs were moving. Then we saw the cutest fluffy baby dinosaur. They asked for a name and Charlotte was delighted that they named it after her. She wants to go back and see the dinosaur when it has grown up.
The best thing about the experience was the tour guides. They lead you through and give a storyline to the whole experience, making it feel real. I loved the fact that it did not feel like they were delivering lines. It felt very real as they gave their tour guide speeches and then slipped naturally into interacting with us and answering questions.
As we went around it was clear that all was not well at Time Base 67. There were definitely a few Health and Safety issues they need to iron out.
The final area was the amazing. It really felt like we were in a viewing area looking out of four large windows using the 3D glasses at the dinosaurs outside. It was incredible. I would have liked a little more time to look at each window as there were different vignettes of the dinosaurs in the wild.
here the excitement really ramped up. There was a real sense of danger, any particularly sensitive children might find it a bit scary. The girls loved it and found it fun and thrilling rather than being scared. We were rushed back to safety and it is a bit of a shock to go through the time machine and find yourselves back in the real world. You get a real sense of disorientation as though you have really travelled in time. We also felt like we had learned lots on the way. There are little snippets of information throughout, so it doesn’t feel like you are in a museum, but you come away learning a bit more about how dinosaurs lived.
At the end of the ride, you can pose with a dinosaur and buy some cute versions of the dinosaurs you have just seen in the wild. This was an unforgettable experience we all loved. The combination of live theatre, puppetry, special effects, and 4D cinema was really unique. Every tiny detail was perfect. This cutting-edge experience has been created by Tim Haines, award-winning Creative Director. Tim says: “With Dinosaurs in the Wild, we wanted to create an immersive experience that takes visitors back in time, using the latest in technology to portray the incredible detailing of the creatures and their surroundings. It will truly change people’s understanding of how dinosaurs looked.”
Dinosaurs in the Wild is on at the NEC until the 24th August, before moving on to EventCity in Manchester on Saturday 7th October. – 7 January 2018 Tickets start from £25 for Advanced Off-peak adult tickets and £85 for Advanced Off-Peak family tickets (2 adults and 2 children).
Disclaimer: We were invited to the event for the purposes of this review.