By Stephen Dafoe
Gibbons – Outside a creation museum or rerun of the Flintstones, there are just not many opportunities to see humans side by side with dinosaurs. But now that Jurassic Forest has officially opened its high wooden gates, there will be plenty of opportunities for the two life forms to intermingle, so long as the humans keep to the park’s boardwalk pathways.
After approximately 18 months of preparation, planning and hard work, Jurassic Forest General Manager Greg Suess said he was excited to have finally arrived at opening day, allowing people to enjoy the 40 acre prehistoric preserve.
“It’s essentially the opportunity to experience life with dinosaurs 65 million years ago in what we believe is their natural environment,” he said.
Placing the dinosaurs in that natural boreal forest setting was accomplished earlier this summer by airlifting the Canadian-made creations into the forest outside Gibbons. But now that everything from Brontosaurus to T-Rex has been placed in their once natural habitat, visitors can expect more than merely a static display.
“They’re fully animated,” Suess said. “They work off a little bit of a sensor system, so as the guests walk through the park, the dinosaurs are going to detect their movement and as the guests approach their habitat, the dinosaurs are going to react to their approach.”
With roughly two kilometres of winding trails, visitors to the park have an opportunity to view the Jurassic Forest’s 40 dinosaurs, representing 19 different species, from a variety of angles and actions.
Suess said millions of dollars have been invested to create something special for those interested in dinosaurs.
“This is very unique,” he said. “There is no other place in Alberta that this type of park exists and in this natural environment. The boreal forest just adds that extra dimension to what you may already see in the way of animatronics and robotic dinosaurs. We really believe we’ve taken the whole concept of dinosaurs right to that next level, and we hope people come out and enjoy the park for an afternoon.”
Jurassic Forest is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Suess said, weather permitting, the plan is to keep the park open year round with different seasonal events.
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