A review of Dinosaurs in the Wild
By Elaine Freedman
[The following review is a slightly amended version of one that was originally published in the Digital Education newsletter in March 2018.]
Suspend your disbelief, enter the time machine which takes you back 67 million years. You land in the Cretaceous period in the time of the dinosaurs. This is the idea behind Dinosaurs in the Wild, an interactive family experience.
The idea and development are the brainchild of Tim Haines, the director ofWalking with Dinosaurs on the BBC. Everything you see and hear is based on our current knowledge and theories of dinosaurs, thanks to the involvement of Dr Darren Naish.
As an experience it can be scary. However, this reviewer came away with an understanding of how impressive these creatures were, and how there is a clear evolutionary link to present day life on earth. This is an event where you learn in spite of yourself.
This is a great opportunity to experience a well-researched educational VR exhibition.
The photo above reminds me of Ray Bradbury's short story, A sound of thunder, which is rumoured to have been the origin of the term 'butterfly effect'.
Since the article above was written, we have been to visit the exhibition/immersive experience again. Our further thoughts, and loads more photos, may be found below.
The experience a second time around was even more enjoyable and fascinating than the first one. It is quieter for a start, and therefore more easy to hear what the guides are saying. It took around an hour and a half from start to finish.
The way it's been set up is very clever. Before seeing any dinosaurs there is an exhibition of the development of time travel, complete with photos of the scientist behind it. (In the main exhibition there are Time magazine covers featuring the inventor, and the CEO of Chronotex, the company behind it.)
For the special effects, you have to wear special glasses. But to maintain the illusion, rather than tell everyone to don 3d glasses, the guides tell people to wear them to protect them from ultraviolet light.
Some of the effects are quite stunning, and amazing. I won't spoil it for you by saying what they are, except that even though you know it's not real, your body still responds as if it is!
As well as being a great experience in itself, it is also historically (or prehistorically) accurate as well, as far as our current knowledge goes. So if you're covering dinosaurs in your curriculum it may be worth looking into the special school party prices. These are £12 per pupil, with free places for teachers (one teacher per 5 pupils or 10 pupils, in primary or secondary respectively). Look at the Education page for details. This is a much better price than the usual one of more than £28 per child, £33 per adult or £99 per family. There are also worksheets and so on available. The only downside is that it's only at the Greenwich arena until 31st July 2018. If you can get to it, do so. It may be moving somewhere else, but I'm not sure.
Enjoy the slide show below!