Arts & Culture, Travel, West Palm Beach

There is a Dinosaur Invasion in South Florida

The blue-eyed blonde haired girl moves as if she were jangled by invisible strings above and her puppeteer is drunk. She is too big to be a baby, but still very young. The girl’s mother asks her child to relax, but telling her child to relax is like telling a fire not to burn. The girl places her small hand on the leathery texture leg of the behemoth.

Her eyes are alight, and her every muscle needs to move, to dance, to jump. She gazes at the colossal red spiked spines from its neck to the tip of its tail and her face fell faster than a corpse in cement boots. Her mouth hung with lips slightly parted and her eyes were as wide as they could stretch.

With rows of blade-like fangs, small-arms, powerful legs, the little girl held out her cherry-red hands wide to try and hug the 12-foot-tall T-Rex, her hands, sweet and comical. She observes, chatters, giggles, and jokes. Everything insight tickles her as a smile, funny, and if there is one idea coming from her mouth there are several more querying up in her mind. The animatronic T-Rex at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium had an ear-splitting roar like thunder booming right next to your eardrum.

The excited child decides to bounce and pounce to the beat of the T-rex’s roar. She snorts, snarls, smiles, and mimics the roar of the beast but the girl’s sounds come off as a squeal. Her mother smiles, and said, “Let’s go see the plant-eating dinosaurs.”

Actors Chris Pratt and Sam Neil as Alan Grant in the ‘Jurassic Park’ films may not be heading to South Florida anytime soon, but the feel of a Jurassic world sure is. There is a dinosaur invasion at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. Journey back millions of years and experience the largest indoor and outdoor exhibit the Science Center located in Palm Beach has to offer.

The life-size animatronic dinosaurs include Triceratops, Raptors, the Spinosaurus, and the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The science center gives an inside look for visitors to see how dinosaurs from all the different parts of the continents lived and how they arrived. The event, which runs through April 21, 2019, also gives visitors a chance to learn about the tectonic plates, geological formations, and a dig pit to search for some rare fossils.

Visitors will experience the reign of these Jurassic juggernauts through 20 dinosaurs and according to the South Florida Science Center’s website and President of the center, Lew Crampton, the apex predators will be, “bigger and badder.”

All ages are invited to check out the exhibit and engineer John Bello believes this exhibit is a standout. “I’ve seen museums like this up in New York, but those are just mostly skeletons and fossils,” said Bello. “Here, we see the movements, the life, and the real feel of how these dinosaurs lived.”

Before the exhibit, Bello wasn’t the biggest fan of dinosaurs. “My son is into dinosaurs, not so much me,” said Bello. After some family time looking at the creatures and reading about how they lived, Bello said, “After reading the cue cards and signs, I’ve found them [dinosaurs] more interesting as the time goes on. It’s informative and fun stuff that I’m getting to see for me now.”

Bello ended by saying that he enjoyed seeing his kids play with the other kids learning about fossils in the outdoor dig pit.

The outdoor playground and part of the dinosaur exhibit offer kids the chance to play and dig up fossils just like any real paleontologist. The beams of sunlight are glowing on her little skin. The calm relaxing shade of blue in the background supported the clouds and the sun. The air is cool and the wind is strong. You could see her hair raise as the cool wind would wallop her face as she sat on the swing in the playground. The colorful swings grew wings as it merely jumped up and down accompanied by little humans with smiles from ear to ear. The little girl with chestnut brown hair is with her siblings and they went to the dig pit to find fossils. There is a white patch in the golden glow of the sand, like an off-white stone, “It’s a fossil!” a little girl yelled with excitement.

When Graciela Cruz isn’t with her family and streaming Dino Dana for her kids to watch on Amazon, Cruz is a regular attendee of the exhibit. “We come here once a month,” said Cruz.  “We’ve been to some museums in Mexico and Vegas. But this one is a real standout because they offer so much for the kids and anyone really when compared to other museums,” said Cruz.

Cruz stands with her children near a Minmi dinosaur (a dinosaur that lived during the early Cretaceous Period of Australia about 119 to 113 million years ago) that looks as if it has a tongue shaped like a fork. The touch of the dinosaur is silky. She runs her hands up and down like she would do a cat or dog at home expecting roughness when she rubs towards the head. Instead, it’s more similar to stroking glass, smooth, but softer.

Cruz asks one of her children what dinosaur would they be, she happily says a T-Rex. When compared to the ginormous T-Rex the exhibit puts on display, it makes Cruz and the rest of her family look as if the T-Rex were as big as five elephants.

“Kids always like the T-Rex,” said Cruz. South Florida isn’t a stranger to some dinosaur looking creatures. Cruz’s dimples crinkled, she smiled, and said, “Yeah, we would probably have the Deinosuchus dinosaur or the Brachiosaurus because they’d eat the palm trees.”

A mouth gaping posture, it’s still body baking in the sun, and it’s tough scaly skin absorbing the suns strength, the Deinosuchus is one of the largest prehistoric crocodiles that ever lived. It was approximately 33 feet long and weighed around 20,000 pounds.

Cruz said, “Seeing the kids and the family happy is always great. We’d encourage others to come for the dinosaur exhibit and the overall center.”

Dinosaur Invasion at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium located at 4801 Dreher Trail North, West Palm Beach, 33405. The center is currently doing a rain forest exhibit and the center is known to change its themes every six months. For more information on ticket pricing, hours, and more, you may visit SFScienceCenter.org or call (561) 832 – 1988.

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