'Real life' dinosaurs descend on downtown Austin for one dino-mite weekend

Dinosaurs descend on downtown Austin for one dino-mite weekend

Jurassic Quest animatronic dinosaur
Get up close and personal with dinosaurs at Jurassic Quest. Courtesy of Jurassic Quest

We’ve all had the thought after watching Jurassic Park for the quadrillionth time: It would surely be fun to see all those giants in real life (not to mention the great time we'd have hanging out with a ‘90s-era Jeff Goldblum).

Even if science gets around to making that dream a reality, crawling through a commercial kitchen as two hungry velociraptors chase us seems to be a price too high to pay. Now, thanks to traveling exhibition Jurassic Quest, we can finally fulfill our Mesozoic fantasies with nary a scratch.

The event — billed as the “largest exhibition of life-size, moving, museum-quality dinosaurs in North America” — will take over the Austin Convention Center December 15-17. The main attraction is, of course, an expert guided tour of more than 80 mammoth reptiles including full-scale animatronic models of a pterodactyl, stegosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus rex complete with bloody teeth.

Every 30 minutes, smaller dinos are paraded through the exhibition hall on leashes while baby triceratops and Camarasaurus puppets are brought out to interact with the crowd. Kids can even ride one of five beasts while taunting the unfortunate adults who are forced to remain on the floor. Tickets for the event range from $14-29 and can be purchased here.

In addition to the dinosaurs, there are plenty of educational opportunities for families, like a fossil-making station and a dig where budding paleontologists can help uncover bones. If you have a rambunctious child, wear them out for nap time by letting them spend a few hours in the bounce houses or racing their friends at the bungee pull. More chill kids will enjoy face painting or arts and crafts.

Although those activities are geared towards the smaller set, the event seems to have plenty to keep all ages occupied. As for us, we are going to hit up brunch, then walk through the show wearing safari jackets. We know the little ones will understand.