The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)


May 26, 2013

Zoo Tales: Dinosaurs Roar Back to Life at NC Zoo


Sunday, May 26, 2013 —

Others include Edmontonia, one of the last known living dinosaurs; Parasaurolophus, a massive duck-billed dinosaur with a distinct elongated crest that has been shown to function as a resonating chamber, possibly for sending low, deep, sub-sonic sounds to herd members miles away.

And returning is the always-popular Triceratops, easily one of the most well known and recognizable dinosaurs with its three distinct horns on its face. Others include Coelophysis, Deltadromeus, Parasaurolophus, Styracosaurus and Quetzalcoatlus (the most requested when asked of Zoo visitors what new dinosaur they most wanted to see this year).

During their trek back in time, visitors will additionally be able to explore a paleontologist's tent and get the latest scoop on fossil sites in North Carolina. At the end of the excursion, they can dig around in fossil pits for an ancient relic to take home or climb aboard a yellow jeep for a family photo.

These giant mechanical dinosaurs were designed and built to scale by Texas-based Billings Productions, North America’s largest maker of life-size animatronic dinosaurs for zoos, museums and theme parks. Their creations include 50 different species--from Allosaurus to Tyrannosaurus rex. Their clients have included zoos in Houston, Cincinnati and Detroit as well as Dinovotion in France and Misaki Park in Japan.

The company, founded in 2003, is one of only a few enterprises in the world that produce large, life-size animatronic dinosaurs for traveling and permanent exhibits and is the only American company that specializes in creating animatronic creatures that can withstand the outdoor elements.

"Kids really connect with the dinosaurs," said Tom O'Konowitz, marketing assistant at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, where the exhibit had a record-breaking run.

"They tend to already know a lot about the different species when they get to the zoo. You can see how excited they get when they're up close with these huge creatures right in front of them."


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