As winter crept along, the baby and I needed a day-trip to get outside the house for a little air. Isabella has a fondness of scary things in general and dinosaurs in particular, so when Jurassic Quest came to the Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville, we jumped at the chance to attend.
Having checked the event’s website, I got a sense of what this might be like, but each venue is different and it was difficult to fully appreciate the size and scope of 80 life-size dinosaurs, some 20 feet tall and 80 feet long.
Upon arriving it was apparent something popular was on display as parents and kids were streaming across the streets in varying arrays of discombobulation leading to the entrances. I will note, parents should fully charge their patience batteries before arriving at Jurassic Quest. It’s a lot of kids getting pulled in a bunch of different directions and some are melting down – along with their guardians.
If you can, get tickets before arriving. Even getting there near the event’s opening, the line inside was substantial and grew rapidly. Those with smart phones were busy attempting to purchase tickets online as they waited. It moved quickly, but by mid-morning it was ridiculous.
Upon entering the main exhibit hall the idea was to make it feel like Jurassic Park. There’s faux wood gates and torches, with the same signage, font style and color. It’s dimly lit and a cacophony of dinosaur growls fill the air at once.
A fossil area awaited guests coming out of the entryway. Dino-skeletons are partially submerged in sand and kids are offered paint brushes to play like mini-archeologists and uncover the skull and bones lying beneath. The brushes tend to get discarded, as the children really are more interested in digging in the sand with their hands.
Puppeteers manipulated baby dinosaurs for kids to pet adjacent to this, but with giant beasts roaring nearby, the adventurous spirit screamed to explore.
There was ambient directional lighting on all the big boys, and with the hall darkened, it accentuated their size and ferocity. Many of these are elephant-sized reproductions or full-scale to their true build. Each has its own soundtrack of growls and howls. Some have movement in their torsos and jaws, and gory representations of wounded prey is on full display.
This offers interesting discussion topics for kids 3 and above. Some of what is on display can scare the younger set.
The different dinosaurs are strategically spread throughout the exhibit hall to help disperse the crowd and not logjam viewing for kids. Sometimes that works but not always.
While this is a cool environment to just hangout around, there are a ton of add-ons available that come a la carte, and it’s easy to spend a bunch of cash here.
There is a dinosaur riding area; a 3-D movie; green screen computer pics for adding jungle backgrounds and ferocious creatures to photographs; face painting; Dino-tours; a centrally located museum shop that is hard to resist; along with the obligatory food and snack options.
It takes a lot of saying NO, but it can be managed with patience and misdirection. The Dino-bouncy castle stuff was included in admission (bring socks or you will have to buy them). Those lines were a bit long, but the kids lost their minds on that stuff. These were pretty cool as bouncy-stuff goes. They depict jungles and have dinosaurs, so when the kids are bouncing it makes the trees shake like a predator is coming. That created a sweet visual when factoring in all the dinosaur sounds echoing throughout the venue.
Isabella and I were there for hours until she was completely worn out. It’s an event that will leave an impression for kids of a certain age. Some of the exhibits show wear and tear, but for kids 9 and under it’s a pretty boss afternoon adventure. Much older than that and I doubt Jurassic Quest would hold their attention long.
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