Colossal dinosaurs to invade Syracuse Zoo for 101 days this summer

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A gigantic exhibit of prehistoric proportions is coming to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo this summer. A dozen lifelike animatronic dinosaurs will populate the zoo’s Wildlife Trail and other outdoor areas from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, Friends of the Zoo President Janet Agostini announced.

Zoo visitors will experience exciting encounters of the Jurassic, Triassic and Cretaceous kind with 23-foot-long Baryonyx, 40-foot-longTyrannosaurus Rex, and two-story-tall Brachiosaurus, among other creatures from the land before time.

“We are so excited to be able to present “Dinosaur Invasion: 101 Days of Dinosaurs” to zoo guests for the entire summer,” Agostini said. “We have seen these dinosaurs at other zoos, and they are amazing. There’s something so compelling about encountering them outside in a natural setting that makes the experience very realistic.”

The Friends of the Zoo worked with Texas-based Billings Productions, a leader in the design and production of lifelike, life-size animatronic dinosaurs, on the plan to turn zoo grounds into a dinosaur theme park for the summer.

The dinosaurs’ “skin” is made from a special urethane compound that protects them against the elements, so they can be displayed for months outdoors. Besides the popular T. Rex and Brachiosaurus, “Dinosaur Invasion” will include two adult Parasaurolophus with a nest and babies, the emu-like Citipati, and the 12-foot-long armored dinosaur Edmontonia.

Zoo Director Ted Fox said he was thrilled when the Friends offered to bring dinosaurs to the zoo. He said it presents opportunities for the zoo to talk about animals in its collection that share characteristics with dinosaurs, explore the link between dinosaurs and birds, and illuminate the zoo’s role in saving today’s endangered species from extinction.

“It’s really fun to see and hear these huge robotic dinosaurs, and it’s also a great tool for connecting people with some of the animals they see here at the zoo,” Fox said.

Friends of the Zoo plans to fill 101 Days of Dinosaurs with many educational opportunities, including guided tours and a visit from “Dr. Dino,” aka Chris DeLorey, the Director of Education for Florida’s Brevard Zoo and a well-known dinosaur expert.

The zoo plans to kick off the exhibit on Friday, May 25, with a Grand Opening event, and the public may be able to watch the dinos being installed. The initial “unload” is scheduled for May 14. For more information on the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, visit www.rosamondgiffordzoo.org. Updates on the dinosaur exhibit will be posted on the zoo’s social media. For more on Billings Productions, visit www.billingsproductions.com.

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