Jurassic Quest comes to Sandy
Mar 16, 2020 02:23PM
By Amy Green
Kids had the chance to ride a life-size animatronic dinosaur at Jurassic Quest. (Amy Green/City Journals)
By Amy Green | [email protected]
Jurassic Quest came to the Mountain American Expo Center Jan. 31–Feb. 2 to show what dinosaurs likely looked like. The family-friendly, interactive exhibits displayed how tall many of them stood. Visitors could see how they looked with meat and skin on their bones. The to-scale models were truly monstrous, in a dazzling way.
Many of the dinosaurs were robo-animated with movement for an attention-getting sight. Kids could take a turn riding on the back of a walking dinosaur, or stand up close to the megalodon to see how its size rivaled the length of a bus they might ride to school.
Becky, Mike, and their son Connor came all the way from Clearfield to see Jurassic Quest. Becky wanted to do something fun in lieu of the Super Bowl. “I heard about it from a coworker and I’ve really enjoyed being here so far.” Connor (age 5) loved seeing the enormous megalodon. When asked how many children a megalodon might eat in a day, Connor confidently said, “25.” Mike thought the animatronics were the best part. “I wasn’t expecting them to be moving around, so it was really neat,” he said.
The dinosaurs were staged in mock-up habitats of jungle foliage, rock deserts and ocean. Visitors could see how they may have moved about, which ones had the gnarliest set of jaws, and what the fancy horns or small-proportioned arms looked like. Were all of their different characteristics important for fighting? Or for attracting a mate? The answers aren’t all sorted out yet. But it was easy to guess which dinosaurs were at the top of the food chain.
Nicholas Schaefer, tour guide and fossil expert, said, “We (Jurassic Quest) travel throughout the United States and Canada. I’ve traveled everywhere with them. It’s been really cool to explore the country as I work. This is my third time coming to Salt Lake, and we’ll be back again.” Shows are posted on their website at JurassicQuest.com.
Schaefer helps educate and answer visitors’ questions. “A lot of people think about dinosaurs as something that doesn’t really connect to us much — these animals that lived long ago. They went extinct, and failed. But dinosaurs have been around for a lot longer than they’ve been gone. They lasted for 165 million years. There are dinosaurs that are three times older than the most recent dinosaurs that roamed. Coelophysis was one of the first dinosaurs in North America. T-rex was one of the last dinosaurs in North America. T-rex lived closer to our day than to the time of coelophysis,” he said.
“Technically speaking, dinosaurs aren't entirely extinct,” Schaefer said. “There is a group of them left — we call them birds. Birds are classified as a subcategory of dinosauria. You might go to the grocery store today for some dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. Those are actually made of real dinosaurs,” he pointed out.
Jurassic Quest offered an up-close experience of the dinosaurs’ unbelievably impressive existence. Not only did it help show families the scale of ancient creatures, visitors could see how dinosaurs looked with feathers, fur and color. These massive bird-like predecessors took shape for a few days in Sandy, and they were welcomed with roaring excitement.