This summer visitors can travel back millions of years as the Smithsonian’s National Zoo presents a “Dino Summer” featuring two dinosaur experiences of prehistoric proportions — "Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live,” an experiential theater production featuring a larger-than-life cast of dinosaur puppets, and “DinoRoars,” an outdoor exhibit of six massive animatronic dinosaurs that move and roar.
“We’ve caught dino-fever here at the Zoo,” said Steve Monfort, John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. “Whether you’re 5 or 50, you’ll marvel at a giant T. rex in addition to a giant panda. We’re thrilled to bring our visitors back in time for a spectacular summer.”
Visitors will be able to look up and listen as the roar of a 39-foot-long T. rex joins the symphony of Zoo animal chirps, squawks and chuffs. “DinoRoars” will be unextinct from June 1 to Aug. 31 and feature life-size animatronic interpretations of dinosaurs. On exhibit will be compsognathus, dilophosaurus, Pprasaurolophus and babies, stegosaurus and baby, quetzalcoatlus and babies and T. rex. Each dinosaur is fitted with electronic brains to activate and control movements and produce the sounds. Admission to the Zoo and “DinoRoars” is free.
Opening June 1, “Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live” takes audiences on a prehistoric journey into a new dimension where they get to meet a menagerie of insects and dinosaurs that roamed the planet millions of years ago. Featuring life-sized dinosaur puppets brought to life by sophisticated design and theatrical presentation and puppet mastery, these amazingly life-like dinosaur recreations connect children to paleontology and according to The New York Times deliver “solid science as well an extraordinary spectacle.” This interactive production features 19 dinosaurs on stage including triceratops, T. rex, megneura, leaellynasaura, titanosaur and more.
“Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live” will perform 30-minute shows at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday in the Zoo’s indoor air-conditioned Visitor Center Theater. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children, with discounts available for FONZ members. An exclusive "Dino Zoo Live" photo experience with a larger-then-life dinosaur will also be available for purchase. Group tickets are also available. Tickets go on sale May 8 to the general public and May 1 to FONZ members.
“Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live” is written and directed by Scott Wright, co-founder and artistic director of Erth Visual and Physical Inc. It is the creation of Australia’s Erth Visual & Physical, Inc. The North American tour of “Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live” is produced by Red Tail Entertainment.
While “Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live” is in residency, visitors can also enjoy ticketed movie screenings of “Pandas,” a breathtaking documentary adventure about introducing panda into the wild in Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding in China. “Pandas” will be on view in the Zoo’s Visitor Center Theater in collaboration with Smithsonian Theaters. Tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for children with discounts available for FONZ members.
Visitors from across the region who catch dino-fever at the Zoo can also visit the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, which opens “Deep Time,” its new, 31,000-square-foot fossil hall June 8. It will explore the epic story of how Earth’s distant past is connected to the present and informs the future.
Always free of charge and open 364 days a year (closed Dec. 25), the Smithsonian’s National Zoo is one of Washington, D.C.’s most popular tourist destinations, with approximately 2 million visitors from all over the world each year. The Zoo instills a lifelong commitment to conservation through engaging experiences with animals and the people working to save them. Founded in 1889, the Zoo is part of the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex. Today, the Zoo sits on 163 acres in the heart of Washington’s Rock Creek Park and is home to 2,700 animals representing more than 390 species. The Zoo’s commitment to conservation, research and education extends to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, located in nearby Front Royal, Virginia. SCBI scientists and animal care experts conduct veterinary and reproductive research to save wildlife and habitats for some of the world’s most endangered animals on the sprawling 3,200-acre campus and in more than 30 countries across the globe.
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"Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live" photos: C. Waits
DinoRoars photos: Billings Productions Inc.