Jurassic Park Week Day 4: A Stroll Down Memory Lane A.K.A. The Day I Got To Meet The Dinosaurs From Jurassic Park
In my time I’ve seen some pretty cool stuff but nothing quite beats the time that a traveling exhibit of Jurassic Park hit my home state of Texas. The year was 1994, the movie was still very much fresh in everyone’s minds and it was finally released on home video where it would be watched over and over again by fanatics like myself. So naturally when “The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park” came to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, I had probably my biggest fanatic freakouts ever. Everything leading up to it was cool, especially skipping school to go see it!! It did turn out that was class photo day and my year book labeled me as “not pictured” in my 4th grade class photo, but when it came to choosing between a dorky group photo or seeing dinosaurs, I think the dinosaurs were a much cooler choice.
After seeing a few cool things like a space suit, a human brain and tounge, some Indian stuff, and digging in a “fossil dig site”. The moment finally came when we got to see the Exhibit. They had some sort of movie at the beginning to hype it up but I totally saw the “When Dinosaurs ruled the Earth” banner above the curtains and kinda ignored the movie….I’m sure it was cheesy and I remember something about no pictures, blah blah blah. Finally the curtains dramatically opened to the banner “When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth” with the Tyrannosaurus and Brachiosaurus skeletons underneath just like the movie. Our tour guide indicated that these were actual bones and the head of the Brachiosaurus was actually some other dinosaur’s head…cool little tidbit.
Next up were some small scale models of the Visitor Center and some drawing board sketches of original ideas of characters ,the visitor center designs, and a few concept art scenes that were in the movie and others that sadly didn’t happen (a T-rex fight in a river!!!) There were some other small props in this section like ID badges, stun guns, the mosquito in amber, the dino mural from the visitors center dining room, the dug up Velociraptor remains, the Cold Embryo storage containers that had the embryos that Dennis Nedry steals (just lemon juice it turns out) and the eggs from the hatchery with baby velociraptor, the night vision goggle helmet, and segments of fence (glittery oddly enough).
Finally the dinosaurs came up. There were some compys that didn’t get used (but turned up in the 2nd movie), the head of the Brachiosaurus, next had the sick Triceratops and a baby triceratops that ended up being built but never used, and the Galamimus. Then there was the wrecked jeep with the T-rex tail hanging above it as a sign of what was ahead. Round the corner we got to meet Dilophosaurus, a reduced scale model of T-rex with a lady holding a block of foam from the movie’s T-rex’s foot that people got to feel, and of course, the Velociraptor. For me it was complete bliss to walk along to see the props and animatronics from the movies.
Finally there was an educational section in the exhibit featuring some mosquito/lizards/moths in amber fossils, as well as a few dinosaur remains from north Texas. Obviously at the end was where the gift shop was located where I purchased “The Making of Jurassic Park”, a book I still have today even in it’s battered-pages-falling-out-I-should-glue-it-back-together condition (I was a child and I manhandled it excessively).
This was definitely probably the coolest thing I’ve ever got to go see in my life and it was pretty awesome to get to see pieces of a movie that I loved so much. It also stood as a shrine to Stan Winston’s team’s amazing work on making the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park. Even though foam and latex doesn’t seem to keep well, I hope they somehow preserved the dinos so they don’t end up like Hoggle from Labyrinth.
Between the Jurassic Park Rides at Universal Studios and apparently a recreation of this exhibit in Japan, it’s good to know that there are places where I can re-live a version of this exhibit somewhere out there. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy really cool museum exhibits like the treasures of King Tut that toured around recently, but King Tut didn’t eat people like the dinos in Jurassic Park did and therefore didn’t leave as strong of an impact on me. As geeky as it sounds, I would LOVE to see more exhibits like this in a touring model. I know there are places you can go to see props, but I can imagine how cool seeing a version of this tour for Lord Of The Rings or Batman would be.
Tomorrow Jurassic Park Week Continues with a look at the video games of the past, kinda-present and future!
Check out the prior Jurassic Park Week Entries below