Who has a fascination and love for dinosaurs? I’ve always loved those huge, extinct beasts and was fascinated by their size and appearance, even hoping that there’s still a few lurking around the jungles of Africa or the rainforests in South America.
With much anticipation I attended the “Discover the Dinosaurs” exhibit at the York Expo on February 2nd, but admittedly ended up being disappointed. I was expecting a wealth of exhibits and dinosaurs, but walked away mostly unimpressed.
Although the doors opened at 10:00am, we arrived around 11:00am and waited in a long line outside the expo in freezing cold weather for about forty five minutes (wish I hadn’t left my gloves in the car!). Once we made it through the doors we were able to thaw out, but continued waiting in line another thirty minutes before finally purchasing our tickets. All together we waited in line well over an hour before entering the arena.
Seeing dinosaurs is still an exciting experience for me, and this was no exception, especially with the animatronics. The dinosaurs were vibrant, their subtle movements brought them to life, and the background sounds created a mysterious ambiance. But there just weren’t enough exhibits for the price of admission to satisfy me. Aside from all the long lines, it didn’t take long to walk from beginning to end and see everything. I took plenty of photos and enjoyed what was there, but paying $32.00 for two adult tickets and $11.00 for a children’s ticket for my niece was a bit pricey. I expected much more. And even though I shelled out a total of $43.00 for admission, there were children’s rides and games which required an additional purchase of tickets. So the lines continued as we waited for the mining expedition (In my opinion, all the games and rides should have been included in the price of admission).
My niece had a great time, but she didn’t care for the long lines anymore than I did. She’d run ahead to the next dinosaur to climb on, but I’d have to hold her back until it was her turn. She was a trooper through the whole experience and didn’t complain much.
I was curious as to how much indoctrination would be present- and it was typical of any such exhibits; each one had a colorful sign listing the time-line in which the dinosaurs lived, explaining which prehistoric era they were from, and there were various “facts” regarding the dinosaur’s behavior and habitat. The sign for the Deinonychus was interesting because it pictured a bird-like, feathered Deinonychus, although the actual exhibit offered a typical dinosaur-like Deinonychus. I also noted that the Stegosaurus sign offered a disclaimer, stating that “Its plates could have been very colorful, but no one knows for sure”. I often wish more disclaimers were present on the literature, for no one knows for sure a lot of things about dinosaurs that are accepted as fact.
It was nice that they gave us a dinosaur scavenger hunt when we entered, so we could gather clues as we moved along and turn it in at the end (we lost ours, so I’m not sure what we could have won). But the whole thing was very commercial, marketed to snatch up as much profit as possible. There were some cool souvenirs available, but having already spent about $70 on admission, games and food, I didn’t feel like waiting in another horrendous line to purchase something else.
Overall, not much effort went into creating a quality experience. I’d much rather go to a museum and tour the exhibits at a leisurely pace, listen to tour guides, and have some attractions designed for children. In fact every museum I’ve ever been to with a dinosaur exhibit was more enjoyable for me.
However, despite my complaints, I’m sure most- if not all the children in attendance- ended up enjoying the experience more than the adults- despite the frosty weather and long lines. These kids walked away with some good memories and experiences, so it wasn’t a total loss. If I was a child and didn’t have to worry about cost, I probably would have been satisfied. Therefore, while I wouldn’t recommend this event for cost-conscious adults, if you’re looking for a good way to entertain your children, and you’re willing to battle long lines and shell out some cash, it may be worthwhile.