If you've ever wished you could walk with the dinosaurs, a new exhibit that just opened in Pasco County has granted that wish; at least until February of 2023, that is!
The new Dinos & Dragons Exhibit officially opened its doors on December 9 with a ribbon cutting in New Port Richey. A video shared by Pasco News on Facebook captured the moment, accompanied by dinosaur puppets (some even donning cute Christmas hats) and the cheers of grand opening attendees.
"DINOSAUR EXHIBIT NOW OPEN!" the video's caption reads, in part. "The doors to the much anticipated 𝗗𝗶𝗻𝗼𝘀 & 𝗗𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗼𝗻𝘀 "𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗟𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝗘𝗴𝗴𝘀" 𝗘𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 is officially open...Prepare to be amazed!"
The post continues on, listing out some of the points of interest you'll find there, including over 100 life-sized dino & dragon animatronics, dinosaur-themed rides, dig pits, and more. It ends with a link back to the event's website, further breaking down what you can expect on a visit to the Jurassic World that's taken over the Harry Schwettman Education Center on Grand Boulevard.
Inside of Building 1, you'll find all things Dino Tech, including robots, virtual and augmented reality experiences, a dino suit, and holograms. Moving onto Building 2, you'll step into the Dino Lab, complete with dissection, microscope, Paleo Prep, and Dino DNA experiences — where they're preparing real dinosaur bones, as well as educating visitors about paleontology and how it works.
Building 3 is one of the places where you'll have the chance to play, decked out with dragon and dino-themed playsets, fossil and shark tooth jewelry making stations, a hatching egg art activity, as well as jacketing and volcano exercises. To wind down with pop up story time, chill carpet puzzles, or a spot to snag souvenirs, you'll want to head over to Building 4.
However, not all the fun to be had is indoors — more can be found under the sun in the courtyard, where you can frolic the fairy garden or get dino and dragon tattoos. Behind the building you'll find a puppet show, scavenger hunt, photo stations, a dinosaur nursery, raptor dino camp, and a unicorn sculpture garden.
On the basketball court, you can hop on Dino-themed rides, get dirty in the dig pit to search for guaranteed shark teeth, and hang out with an egg-laying triceratops. You'll need to upgrade your ticket to all-access to check these ones out, though.
So that begs the question, how much are tickets anyway?
General admission starts at $20 and is only valid for the specific date of booking between the 4pm and 9pm hours of operation. But if you want to experience everything the event has to offer, an all access ticket will run you $50. If you don't want to fight for parking with other event-goers, upgrade your all access pass to VIP for an additional $20.
While the event is intended for people of all-ages, Dino & Dragons' FAQ page warns that some experiences may be a little too spooky for the kids — who just so happen to get into the venue for free if they're 3 or younger. As of publication, tickets are available every day through the event's final date of February 26, 2023. You can get yours here.
If $70 for all access and VIP parking sounds a little steep, know that your dollars are going to a good cause. According to reporting from Fox 13 News, the display will help to raise money for the Museum of Archaeology, Paleontology, & Science (MAPS).
Charles Zidar, the executive director for the Museum of Archaeology, Paleontology, & Science, told Fox that he hopes the Fantasy meets Science exhibit helps to put MAPS on the map.
"Almost as important as raising money for the museum is raising awareness of the museum," said Zidar, "most people don't know of the museum."
Concessions will also be available for purchase, however small snacks that do not require heating, any food or supplements needed for special dietary or medical purposes, baby food and formula, as well as soft-sided insulated bags no larger than 8.5" wide by high 6" by 6" deep, as well as up to 2 liters of bottled water can be brought inside.
Aside from this Jurassic World, The Dino & Dragons event also features a digital scavenger hunt. Just scan a QR code on their website, download the ScanHunt app and enter code "DINOHUNT"; from there, login and start hunting — scouring the venue for hidden QR codes that will give you activities to complete and earn points.
To learn more about Dino & Dragons or join the scavenger hunt, check out the MAPS website here, or the event's webpage here.
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