• Leader & Times
Dinosaurs have been extinct for millions, maybe even billions of years. Despite this, the fascination of the animal continues to grow as more and more time lapses.
With movies such as the “Jurassic Park” series, it’s easy to see how people have a growing need to learn more about these creatures of the past.
About five years ago, a company based in Michigan began bringing a traveling exhibit to cities throughout the country, and Jurassic Tours will be bringing that exhibit to Liberal at the Seward County Fairgrounds.
David Aldika of Jurassic Tours said those who come out this weekend will experience the sights and sounds of moving, breathing, walking dinosaurs.
“We have animatronic robot dinosaurs, roaring, breathing dinosaurs,” he said. “We also activities for kids like bounce houses. We’ve got basketball, dino-darts. We have a virtual reality for kids as well.”
Aldika said Jurassic Tour’s focus is to educate children and adults alike about the planet’s amazing prehistoric creature. A large part of that focus, however, is aimed at children.
“It’s more looking forward to the younger generation to see,” he said. “It’s more educational and fun for kids. Mostly, our goal is to reach out to the younger generation and experience what life was like billions of years ago.”
Like many children, Aldika’s interest in dinosaurs started when he was young.
“I was a kid one time,” he said. “We learn about dinosaurs, hear about dinosaurs, but never get to see dinosaurs. This is something that’s nearly everybody’s dream come true to see actual moving dinosaurs.”
Aldika said what has kept dinosaur at the heart of many people’s interests is the actual visuality of the animals.
“Kids like to see the sharp teeth or like to see the long neck,” he said. “It’s more scientific that kept dinosaurs coming back around with actual bones. They kind of went after it from bones to making them a little more realistic. From them on, they went by species and skin tone and color.”
Aldika said Jurassic Tour will stimulate children’s imaginations as the dinosaurs come to life right in front of their inquisitive eyes.
“We have actual dinosaurs that are actually lifesize that move, roar, breathe,” she said.
Work from scientists has shown that dinosaurs ruled the Earth from the Triassic period around 230 million years ago through the Jurassic period and until the end of the Cretaceous period around 65 million years ago. It is much of that research which Aldika said has kept people wanting to know more about dinosaurs.
“We’ve got a lot of paleontologists and archaeologists working together, putting this stuff together,” he said.
With movies like Jurassic Park continually being updated, more realistic adaptations of the extinct creatures, Aldika said.
“Every couple of years, they keep updating it, updating it, updating it with the new technology that they have making them so realistic,” he said. “We bring these shows along for them to see what you see on TV, you can actually see in person.”
The Liberal stop for the Jurassic Tour will be at the Seward County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Aldika said although this is an exhibit, visitors will actually get to experience it rather than simply see it.
“They walk through it,” he said. “It’s a lot of experiences for kids. They get to walk around.”
The cities Jurassic Tour visits are smaller towns.
“We try to bring the big city stuff to the little city stuff so everybody can see it,” Aldika said.
Aldika also said while Jurassic Tour is largely focused on children, it is an event for all ages.
“Anybody can go see a dinosaur in a museum anywhere,” he said. “You’re only going to find bones. With the new machinery we have, they roar, they breathe. There’s a lot that goes into it.”
Tickets can be purchased at the door or by logging on to www.jurassicpark.com.
“It’s $23 for adults, $28 for kids, but the kids tickets include bounce houses, basketball and darts,” Aldika said.