Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live guides families on a breathtaking tour that begins in pre-historic Australia, where they can observe, meet and interact with an eye-popping collection of lifelike dinosaurs and other creatures. This 30-minute theatrical performance will thrill and entertain kids while stimulating their imaginations in ways that will forever connect them to their world.
Brought to life by a team of skilled performers and puppeteers, and designed with the help of professional paleontologists, Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live’s puppets are so extraordinarily realistic The Chicago Tribune said it had "visual oomph to rival 'The Lion King.'"
And don't miss out on meeting a baby dinosaur after the show by adding the Dino Photo Experience to your ticket!
Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live is suitable for all audiences but recommended for children ages 3 and older. Please note that at times this live production features loud sounds, theatrical stage lighting and other special effects.
Note: Purchasing a ticket to Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live does not guarantee you parking at the Zoo. Please keep in mind that lots tend to fill quickly in the summer months. For more help with getting to the Zoo, or to reserve a parking space through ParkWhiz, please see the Parking & Directions page.
- Dino Photo Experience
- Meet the Dinos
- Meet the Cast
- Video: How a Dinosaur is Made
Adults (ages 13+): $10
Children (ages 3-12): $8
Children (under 3): Free
FONZ Member Adults (ages 13+): $8.50
FONZ Member Children (ages 3-12): $6.80
For just $10 ($9 for FONZ members) add an interactive baby dinosaur photo experience to your ticket package. See details on the next tab.
Purchase Tickets Online
FONZ members: Check your May 1 or May 3 email from FONZ for instructions on accessing your discounted tickets. If you joined or renewed on May 1 or later, please check your email confirmation for this information. Not a member? Join today.
Purchase Tickets at the Zoo
Tickets can be purchased at three box office locations around the Zoo.
- Visitor Center Box Office | 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Located in the Visitor Center lobby
- Theater Box Office | 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Located behind the Visitor Center at the main theater entrance
- Lion-Tiger Hill Box Office | 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Located next to the information kiosk at Lion-Tiger Hill
*Military discounts are available on-site and online. All Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live tickets are for general admission to the Zoo Theater. Seating is not assigned. Accessible seating is available and can be requested prior to each show. See accessibility tab for details.
Tickets cannot be refunded. Ticket exchanges are available for another day or time, when seats are available. Stop by any of the Zoo's box offices or email firstname.lastname@example.org to exchange your tickets.
Interactive Baby Dinosaur Photo Experience
Make a magical photo memory for you and your group as you meet and touch a newborn dinosaur in this exclusive, up-close encounter.
General Public: $10
FONZ Members: $9
Add a photo experience to your ticket package when purchasing Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live show tickets online, or purchase the photo experience on-site at the Zoo after the show.
*Cost is per group (not per person) and includes one up-close encounter with a newborn dinosaur puppet and a digital photo taken by a Dinosaur Wrangler with your phone or camera.
June 1 - Aug. 31
Tuesday - Sunday* | 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Runtime: 30 minutes
Location: National Zoo Theater
This air-conditioned venue is located inside the Visitor Center near the Zoo's main pedestrian entrance on Connecticut Ave. and close to Parking Lot A (see Zoo map).
*Please note that the theater is closed on Mondays.
The Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live team put together some fun facts about a few of the dinosaurs you'll meet during the show.
How to say it: Tri-ser-ra-tops
Name means: Three-horned face
Period: Late Cretaceous (66-70 million years ago)
The triceratops was a very large and distinctive dinosaur. It grew up to 11 feet tall and 29.5 feet long, and weighed 6 tons. The triceratops is named for the three sharp horns on its head. This dinosaur is classified as a cerapod. It was a plant eater and was one of the last dinosaurs to live on Earth.
How to say it: Tie-ran-o-sore-us
Name means: Tyrant lizard king
Period: Late Cretaceous (66-70 million years ago)
The Tyrannosaurus rex, or T. rex, might be the most well-known dinosaur. It was first discovered by Barnum Vrown in 1902 and soon captured the public imagination. The T. rex is a type of theropod dinosaur. It grew up to 13 feet tall and as long as 46 feet, and it weighed 7.7 tons. The tyrannosaurus was one of the first giant, meat-eating dinosaurs to be put on display in a museum and was thought to be the largest dinosaur at the time. Since its discovery, scientists have learned that even larger carnivorous dinosaurs existed.
How to say it: Tie-tan-O-sore
Name means: Titanic lizard
Period: Cretaceous (65-96 million years ago)
Titanosaurs were the largest animals ever to roam on land; they were sauropod dinosaurs that survived to the end of the Cretaceous period (most sauropods went extinct at the end of the Jurassic period). Titanosaurs grew to sizes far in excess of their earlier relatives; hence, they are named after the mythological Titans, who were gods of ancient Greece. The biggest that we can factually estimate the size of was the argentinosaurus. It grew up to 114 feet 9 inches in length! Titanosaurs discovered in Australia include Wintonotitan wattsi and Diamantinasaurus matildae.
How to say it: Meg-a-NEW-ra
Name means: Large-nerved
Period: Carboniferous (300 million years ago)
Meganeura was a gigantic primitive dragonfly with a wingspan of more than 2 feet (possibly larger). It flew to hunt flying insects above tropical forests and had swiveling multi-faceted eyes like headlamps, which were quick to spot movement and sharp enough to allow it to pounce on flying prey. Meganeura flew by beating two pairs of wings stiffened by "veins."
It dashed to and from in forests, changing speed and direction almost instantly, grabbing insects with its legs and bringing them up to its mouth to feed. Meganeura were around in the late Carboniferous period (355-295 million years ago), but not in either the Jurassic or the Cretaceous period. However, there were still large dragonflies in both these periods. Present day dragonflies are descended from these.
How to say it: Lee-el-in-a-sore-rah
Name means: Leaellyn's lizard
Period: Early Cretaceous (104-112 million years ago)
The leaellynasaura is one of many dinosaurs whose partial remains have been dug (and blasted) out of the solid rocks of Dinosaur Cove in the southeast of Australia. Evidence of leaellynasaura is known from a well-preserved skull. This dinosaur was a small, turkey-sized herbivorous ornithopod. In early Cretaceous times, they resided in areas of Australia that were well within the Antarctic Circle, where the climate was extreme with very limited sunlight for many months of the year.
Its skull has unusually large eye sockets, suggesting that leaellynasaura adapted to the long winter darkness of the Antarctic, which therefore implies that it could withstand low, perhaps even sub-zero temperatures. To do this, leaellynasaura would have needed some way of generating body heat, which some paleontologists have taken as evidence that dinosaurs were, in fact, warm-blooded.
Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live is written and directed by Scott Wright, the co-founder of Erth Visual and Physical Inc. and its artistic director since inception in 1990.
Sharon Kerr is the associate director for Erth. Steve Howarth is their head of design and works very closely with specialist puppet maker Bryony Anderson in the creation of the dinosaurs, puppets and flora that make up the set. Phil Downing is the show’s composer.
The company of Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live will be led on stage by "host" Miles Portek with Miron Gusso, Joe Aholt and Eryn Malafronte as puppeteers.
The North American tour of “Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live” is produced by Red Tail Entertainment.
Accessible seating and companion seating is available. Please request upon arrival and a Visitor Center Theater team member will direct you to the accessible seating.
Access services including sign language interpretation, CART and audio description are available upon request. Please submit requests via email to email@example.com. Two weeks notice in advance of the program you plan to attend is appreciated.
Assistive listening devices (ALDs) are distributed from the Visitor Center Theater Box Office.
Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live is an interactive show with a limited number of guests invited on stage to participate in portions of the performance
- Visual stimuli: The show features lifelike dinosaur puppets. During the show, theatrical stage lighting and visual special effects are used. At times, dinosaur puppets move around the theater and over the heads of seated audience members.
- Auditory stimuli: Cast microphones, music and dinosaur noises may be loud.
- Crowds and lines: The auditorium can seat several hundred guests for the show. Guests attending the performance will enter from the side entrance of the Visitor Center, across from the Zoo’s cheetah yards. Because this is a ticketed event, there may be a line to enter the show. There may also be lines to purchase tickets.