A lot of cool attractions have come about based on Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, from the amazing different Universal parks with their robotic baby triceratops and pterodactyl coasters, to the recent Jurassic World The Exhibition, which still has yet to come near me no matter how many sacrifices and prayer circles I’ve made. Now, not affiliated with Universal but still promising to be amazing, there’s a new Jurassic World-based attraction coming to the UK and it’s… well, unique. Soon, people will get the chance to actually be eaten by one of the dinosaurs we love so much.
Starting June 24th, a new theme park will open (if you can even call it a theme park) called Dinosaurs in the Wild, which promises to make you feel just like the prey of the dinosaurs you’ve grown to love in the Jurassic World movies, plus a few others. Filled with giant state-of-the-art animatronics in an enormous indoor environment that was engineered to look as much like a Cretaceous forest as possible, it’s a really cool-sounding attraction with a really weird twist. Visitors get in off-road vehicles and get a tour around the area, just like if they were on a safari after being transported back in time. And I’m fine with that part, but immediately afterwards, they dump you to fend for yourself in the middle of a large clearing. And you have the choice to run for the woods or stay where you are and let your fate decide itself, but eventually, one of the robotic dinosaurs will hunt you down and proceed to eat you. The attraction’s website assures us that the experience of being chowed down will be “strange but not painful”– apparently instead of being chewed, you’ll just be swallowed and pass through the animatronic’s gullet, followed by being deposited straight into the gift shop. Definitely not my cup of tea, and frankly if getting swallowed by a giant robot of any kind is the sort of thing that you’d be interested in taking a trip to the UK and forking over money for, I’m pretty worried about you.
The rest of the place seems amazing, though. These people have a serious dedication to accuracy– well, mostly. Here’s one of the featured dinosaurs that you have the chance to be an entree for:
Even the kids in the first JP movie know that sauropods don’t eat people, guys. (Plus, with that long neck, won’t it take hours to go through the thing’s body?) Other than that glaring oversight, I’m in awe. Look at the feathers! Look at the detailed scales! Here’s another one of their attractions:
I would scream in both joy and terror if I got to see one of those walking around. The accurate feather placement! The fact that it isn’t shrink-wrapped! The colors! I mean, I wouldn’t want it eating me or anything, but I do appreciate it in an aesthetic way.
So why exactly would so much work go into such a weird attraction with a strange target audience? Jill Bryant, Dinosaurs in the Wild’s producer, explains it all on the website. “Universal basically has a lock on recreating the magical environment of the Jurassic Park movies, and we wanted to create something that couldn’t be experienced anywhere else in the world,” she says. “Initially, we were going to create a dinosaur theme park which drew inspiration from the movies, but which focused more on education and current paleontological theory. But whenever we discussed the idea with anyone other than the production team, their first response was to joke about, “oh, when will the dinos break out and eat everybody?” And at first that was tiring, but then it gave me an idea.
“The other Jurassic Park-based attractions in the world just focus on one aspect of the classic film series, which is the part about the awe and wonder of it all. With Dinosaurs In The Wild, we wanted to give people an experience that replicated the more thrilling parts of the movies they loved, the action sequences that got their heart racing. Everyone remembers sitting on the edge of their seat the first time they watched Jurassic Park and saw Alan Grant staring a T. rex in the face, and Ellie Sattler being stalked by Velociraptors. Now people of all ages– although we don’t recommend this attraction for children under ten– will get the chance to be hunted by the greatest predators to ever walk the earth. You could hide in the forest and be thrillingly hunted down by a pack of raptors, or Deinonychus as they are in this attraction. You could climb a tree and see how long it takes the roving alamosaurs to find you. Or you could just stay in the field, exploring the painstakingly recreated Cretaceous scenery, and wait until a scientifically accurate tyrannosaur tracks you down. There’s a million ways to experience Dinosaurs In The Wild, and I’m very excited to share them with you this June.”
Well, that makes some sense, I will admit. I haven’t been to Jurassic World: The Exhibition, but I bet everyone there wonders when the giant Rexy robot will duck down and grab someone in its chompers, and I bet a lot of guests are genuinely curious about what would happen if it did. And, other than the getting-eaten part, it really does seem like a genuinely cool place to visit. If the eating part weren’t mandatory– and the website assures me that it is– I’d go just for the chance to walk around a prehistoric forest and hang out with big feathery T. rexes. No, scratch that, I would go for the chance to join a raptor pack for as long as they’d let me. I would run around with a gang of Deinonychus just as I’ve dreamed of for so long, and people and animatronics alike would shiver at the mention of my pack. Maybe I could help my raptor friends track down some fellow guests, and afterwards I’d pet their heads and tell them they’re good dinosaurs, and we’d hang out in their nest area and do whatever it is raptors do in their down time. Yeah, honestly now that I think about it, I might not mind getting eaten as long as I get to do that.
Dinosaurs in the Wild will have two three-month runs, at Birmingham and then Manchester, from June to August and then October to January. The website is unclear about how much it will cost; it only says “you’ll give an arm and a leg– literally”. I would definitely go if I got the chance– is anyone with me?
Author’s note: if you’d like to learn more about becoming a dino’s meal at Dinosaurs in the Wild, I should probably inform you that you just got April Fooled! The attraction is real and sounds really awesome, but fortunately it’s more like a real Jurassic World and doesn’t involve getting eaten by anything. (Hopefully.) Here’s the attraction’s website, and if you happen to live near where it’ll take place or plan to take a trip there, please consider taking me with you. Please. Please.