Saturday 16 January 2021

Dino Lab at Melbourne Zoo - Ready for some ROAR!

There are some gigantic, ferocious, scary-looking dinosaurs “roaming” around the Melbourne Zoo at the moment, and the last I heard, they’re “not leaving anytime soon”. The Dino Lab at Melbourne Zoo is one exciting adventure for the kids. Yes, seeing real animals in action is cool and amazing, but watching extinct dinosaurs “come to life” in close distance? That’s surreal.
Located opposite of where you would usually find the lemurs, each person is given a (disinfected) lanyard with a swipe card before we begin our expedition to hunt for the lost creatures. Now how long a neck can a diplodocus goes? And how badass can those triangular iconic plates look at the back of our media-favourite stegosaurus? The T-Rex is as usual, attention grabbing, showing-off its large and wide jaw, all ready to chomp down some bony and meaty meals of its next victim. We love those animatronic huge monsters moving in slow-motion, the occasional roar, that “what’s-you-looking-at” deathly stares. All the dinosaurs are realistically modelled but “kids-friendly” enough to generate giggles and amazement.
The special swipe cards provide access to knowledge: there are information stations scattered around the Dino precinct, spewing interesting fun facts about the majestic beasts, while linking them to the importance of preserving our present-day endangered species. There were also dinosaurs eggs and baby dinosaurs basking at leisure in their own little sanctuary amidst the greens. Game to be a junior palaeontologist? Walk over to the Dino Dig (aka sandpit) area, and discover the ginormous skeletons and fossils concealed beneath the great white sand. On the day of my visit, no kids were seen hanging around the excavation area, because you see, the Aussie scorching and super hot summer is not for the faint-hearted! There were also incubation station with a mind-boggling breeding program undergoing, and an “inactive” Dino Field Research Station that could not go on full-swing owing to the current pandemic situation.
On the way out of the enclosed dinosaur habitat, we left behind our lanyards but brought away some awe-inspiring photographs and information about the lost world. We could see a new round of disinfection being done on the scanning cards and lanyards as part of the covid-prevention measures. Dino Lab experience is included and is part of the attractions of a Melbourne Zoo’s entry. There are apparently some simultaneous dinosaurs exhibitions going-on in its sister zoos in Werribee and Healesville at the moment.
For Covid-19 access and pre-booking, please visit the Melbourne Zoo website.

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