Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Discover the Dinosaurs: A family friendly event?

Discover the Dinosaurs Review

My boys have shown an avid interest in dinosaurs, all dinosaurs. My toddler who will be turning three next month knows several dinosaurs by name and is actively engaged by dinosaurs; be it books, toys, or shows he is enthralled. Even my nine-month-old is interested in prehistoric creatures!

My husband had heard that there was a dinosaur event taking place in Rosemont, IL with animatronics. Large dinosaurs that could make noise and move, this was something we didn’t want to miss! We decided that we would take both of the boys to Discover the Dinosaurs in Rosemont, IL and make a day of it.

My husband, the planner, found out when the event opened and we hit the road early in order to get there before the crowds. We paid $13 for parking which was not too bad; this is the Chicago-land area and parking can be outrageous at times. There was a nice walkway from the parking garage to the convention center making it easy for families with children during the winter months. Once inside the convention center you can purchase your tickets to enter the event. We were ready to see some dinos!

We paid $40 to get into this event. The baby was free because he was not two years old yet, but our two-year-old was $10 and adults were $15 each. I thought this was pretty reasonable if my family was going to be enjoying more than 60 museum quality moving dinosaurs and all of the features listed on their website. That was not the case.

When you walk in they ask you to wait and have your picture taken for a photo that you can purchase at the end of your visit. Then you walk along a path {not really a path at all} and look at little groupings of dinosaurs. Some of the dinosaurs moved, most did not.  In my opinion there were not over 60 museum quality moving dinosaurs. After the dinosaurs you walk out to where you can purchase the photo taken of you at the beginning of the event or wander through a little makeshift store. Then you look and see bounce houses with dinosaurs and miniature golf and dinosaur rides and face painting and… you quickly realize they all require tickets and are not included in the price of your admission. Each ticket cost $2 and each ride that my son wanted to do was a minimum of three tickets. We let my toddler have a ten minute, three tickets, free for all in one of the bounce houses as well as a triceratops ride that cost three tickets and lasted less than a minute. We left immediately after.

I love events. They can be fun and a great break from the mundane. They are especially appreciated in the winter when getting out of the house is a must and feels like a vacation. I have done several events with my children from a football game at Soldier Field to a Day out with Thomas and I appreciate all of the hard work and planning that goes into making a successful event a reality.

Both of my children liked the dinosaurs. The animatronics spread out throughout the exhibit were a big hit with my kids.  They loved seeing the dinosaurs move and make noise. My toddler especially loved being able to touch some of the dinosaurs. My son liked the bounce house as well and wished he could have stayed inside a little bit longer… just five more minutes’ mom. All in all my kids had a good time, but that was because my husband and I were willing to shell out the money for our kids to be able to do the fun stuff.

Discover the Dinosaurs Review

In my opinion the dinosaur part of the event was too dark, making it difficult to really see the dinosaurs unless you were right on top of them. Pictures did not turn out well at all! Some of the dinosaurs were large, but I do not feel that any of the dinosaurs were built to scale. The animatronics were well done, but I wish there were more of them. I felt like this event was a little bit of a bait and switch. In my head I hear, “we will have this great dinosaur exhibit with replica dinosaurs {my mental image is of HUGE dinosaurs – these were not HUGE dinosaurs.} and fabulous family friendly activities.”… and then when you get there and pay admission and walk through the dinosaurs you discover that the big bright bounce houses, the face painting, the dinosaur rides, the miniature golf…. All costs extra. Although my two-year-old had a great time, it was a letdown for me.

With that being said, if you are thinking about partaking in this event be prepared to shell out some money for the extras. Manage your expectations. You are not walking into a room with a 13ft tall 42ft long Tyrannosaurus Rex. The dinosaurs that move and make noise are cool, but not all of the dinosaurs make noise and move. There is the potential for making this a really fun event, if I wasn’t opening my wallet every time I turned around.

Although my children had a good time at Discover the Dinosaurs, we will not be doing this event again. There are a lot of museums and events in Chicago and not enough time, energy, or money to do them all. You never know how something is unless you give it a try. This one did not live up to expectations and we will not be going back, but I am still glad that we gave it a go.

This is NOT a sponsored post. I paid for my family to attend this event and all of the opinions expressed here are my own and may differ from others.

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