Dinosaurs come back to Life
“Personally I fail to see what’s cutting edge about a dragon. They were used to advertise mouth-wash in the 80s, and they’ve been extinct for millions of years.” That’s Alan Partridge dissing Game of Thrones in his own, inimitable, confused way. But I too am given over to bouts of confusion at times, especially when it comes to dinosaurs. In a reversal of Alan’s notion, it keeps slipping my mind that fearsome looking dinosaurs did actually exist, and are not just mythical CGI beasts invented at the behest of film directors as multiplex popcorn fodder. And I find the very idea that Tyrannosaurus Rex stalked the same earth that we now inhabit as both exhilarating and deeply unnerving.
I’m certainly not alone in having this deep fascination with dinosaurs and huge crowds are expected to flock to the Life Science Centre when Dino Jaws opens for an extended run at the end of May. The exhibition is making its way north from the Natural History Museum in London, and will give you the chance to look the terrifying T. Rex in the eye and stand face-to-face with a Velociraptor. It will feature a whole host of amazing models, including those all-important life-size animatronic heads, letting you get as close to your favourites as you dare to.
Some of the model heads have also been stripped of skin to reveal a detailed view of how dinosaurs used their teeth and jaws to tear, grind and chew food (think Eamonn Holmes at an all-you-can-eat buffet, then double it). The exhibition also explores the various methods that these creatures used to catch their prey, and whether they chose to snack on smaller dinosaurs, eggs or plants.
The scary dinos don’t get the run of the place, however, and there will be plenty of room for the Morrissey equivalent of the Jurassic period, i.e. the plant-munching herbivores, including the veggie-loving Iguanodon, the Protoceratops and the egg-stealing Oviraptor.
The exhibition also features intriguing fossil evidence and hands-on exhibits that reveal the secrets of dinosaur’s diets, as well as the chance to explore dinosaur poo (and there’s an offer you’re not going to get too many times during your in life).
And, naturally, your admission ticket will also give you access to the entire science centre at Life, so in addition to Dino Jaws you can also check out the star-spangled shows in the planetarium, live shows in the Science Theatre, and do some real life experiments in the Experiment Zone, among other stuff. So get yourself along, quake before the awesome power of the T. Rex, and leave in the knowledge that, yes, these creatures really did once rule our planet.
Dino Jaws, Saturday 27 May-Sunday 7 January, Life Science Centre, Times Square, Newcastle. Adults £13, concessions (OAP, student, unwaged) £10, child (aged 5-17) £7.50, child (aged 4 and under) free, family tickets (2 adults and 2 children, or 1 adult and 3 children), £34. life.org.uk