Cheers as big scary monsters hit town: EL dinosaur show aims to give kids a good experience

East London dinosaur enthusiasts are in for a treat over the next five weeks as they have the opportunity to walk among the prehistoric giants at the DinosAlive Exhibition at Hemingways Mall.

A RIDE FOR THE BRAVE: Young and old enjoy the active displays at the DinosAlive Exhibition, held at Hemingways Mall. The Exhibition runs until October 30. Picture: ALAN EASON

In the Eastern Cape for the first time, the dinosaur exhibition consists of 25 life-size animatronic dinosaurs, which will be on display until October 30.

DinosAlive Exhibition manager Louis Le Grange told the Daily Dispatch that their main focus was to ensure that children were well informed about dinosaurs before leaving the exhibition.

“We are very happy with the feedback we have received from the public over the weekend. It is the first time we are in East London, and already we have more than 1500 schoolchildren booked to spend a few hours learning and having fun here.

“We are a family orientated expo but we know that the strength of the expo lies in providing a good educational experience for the kids.”

This is the 12th countrywide stop for DinosAlive, after it kicked off in Cape Town at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in December 2014.

While the expo will not be an annual event, Le Grange said they would like to return to Buffalo City in a few years’ time.

“Dinosaur expos are not a new concept globally but it is a relatively new one in South Africa. We visit the different cities around the country every three years.

“This also allows a new generation to be excited about the dinosaurs, and this way they could enjoy everything we have on offer.”

Le Grange said they had taken the exhibition out of the country to Zambia due to demand at two venues, which did “really well”.

Their previous stop was in Bloemfontein at the end of July, and their next stop after East London will be at Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth over November and December.

It takes about six days to set up the R5-million exhibition, and four days to break it all down.

The intimidating, realistic dinosaurs are made from synthetic foam and rubber material, which is all manufactured in China.

Visitors to the expo can enjoy the Dino Lab, dinosaur rides, face-painting and a 20-minute educational movie, among other things.

Verdine Troskie and Zandalee Wittstock of Cambridge visited the expo with their four-year-old and 17-month-old children yesterday.

“This is our first time and the kids have really enjoyed it. I honestly didn’t think it would be this good,” Troskie said.

Wittstock said they would bring their children back once they were older, to have a different experience at the exhibition. “I think it is very educational and different from other expos; we definitely will bring them back when they are older.”

Sage Marcus, 8, of Buffalo Flats, who had her face painted like a dinosaur, said she was excited.

“It was a little scary at first but then I started enjoying myself. The triceratops was my favourite so I am very happy,” she said.

Last year in East London a different company – The Dino Expo company – was forced to cancel its exhibition at Vincent Park Mall after its organisers failed to meet “contractual obligations”.

The two exhibitions are in no way related. —