The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Regional

May 26, 2013

Zoo Tales: Dinosaurs Roar Back to Life at NC Zoo

Sunday, May 26, 2013 —

The most successful temporary exhibit ever at the North Carolina Zoo roars back bigger and better for an encore presentation when "Dinosaurs" returns to the park through Oct. 31.

Through the magic of futuristic technology, these mammoth, life-like animatronic creatures will offer a full-blown dino-reality experience to zoo visitors as they travel back in time along a lush, winding pathway with ancient plants, where a new experience lurks at every turn.

As part of this limited-engagement, outdoor exhibit, visitors will encounter dinosaurs representing species that once roamed North America throughout the Cretaceous and Jurassic periods--from gargantuan herbivores, to savage predators.

Real dinosaurs, of course, became extinct ages ago, but each of the 15 life-like (and most are life-sized) dinosaurs offer best-guess snapshots of those prehistoric animals based on the most up-to-date research. State-of-the-art electronics power each dinosaur to control the movements and sounds. The realistic movements are produced by a pneumatic-piston system that enables the dinosaurs to move smoothly and precisely.

Each dinosaur is built on a steel frame and meticulously equipped with textured, intricately painted rubber skin, bold colors and theatrical touches that make it seem real. Realistic movements include grasping hands, menacing claws and gnashing teeth.

A whole new cast of creatures has been chosen for this year's experience and promises to be bigger, bolder and better. Among the featured species will be Giganotosaurus--all 43 feet of it--which will take the place of last year's Tyrannosaurus Rex. “Giga” is actually believed to have been larger than the T-Rex, with a massive skull more than six feet long.

Other new species for 2013 will include Acrocanthosaurus, a large  carnivorous dinosaur whose name means "high spined lizard;" Amargasaurus, featuring elongated pairs of spines running from the base of the head down to the base of the neck; Citipati, an emu-sized creature with a distinct toothless head crest and proto-feathers. 

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