WILKES-BARRE — This weekend, people of all sizes and ages will have a rare opportunity to walk among dinosaurs.
T. Rex Planet, a North American traveling dinosaur show, will be at the 109th Field Artillery Armory on Market Street Saturday and Sunday and a sneak peek Friday revealed that this is a really big show.
Dave Eldika, the 29-year-old general manager of T. Rex Planet, said about 50 dinosaurs will be on display. They move, they growl, they blink their eyes — sometimes scaring customers, big and small.
“We’re here to teach people about dinosaurs in an interactive way instead of what they might see in a text book,” Eldika said. “Everybody will enjoy what they see and hear at this show.”
On the T. Rex Planet website — trexplanet.com — the company states its mission is “to educate children and adults alike about the amazing prehistoric creatures of our planet. We strive to make learning about dinosaurs as fun and interactive as possible.”
Eldika said he has a team of more than 30 dedicated and passionate people that were handpicked to bring the world of dinosaurs alive. He said the team arrives at each new show location to do everything from creating scenes and decorating each era as it were millions of years ago, to helping put a smile on every child’s face.
“These dinosaurs welcome you by batting their reptilian eyelids, gnashing their razor-sharp teeth, clawing at you with their colossal talons, and even appearing to breathe the same air as you,” the website states.
As Eldika and his crew were setting the displays up Friday morning, a walk around the armory offered brief encounters with T-Rex himself, a large Tyrannosaurus Rex who is just waiting to meet inquiring dinosaur enthusiasts. Eldika flipped a switch and T-Rex came alive, his eyes appearing to look right at you as he lets out with a bellowing roar.
Around the armory you can stop, learn and visit with an allosaurus, a brontosaurus, a triceratops, a velociraptor, a stegosaurus and many more. In the dinosaur world, size definitely matters.
Eldika said “Tracey” — a young T-Rex — will greet guests and then be found walking and playing around the exhibit. A talking tree will also interact with attendees, explaining dinosaurs to children and adults alike.
The main exhibit features life-sized ultra-realistic animatronic dinosaurs and more than 40 lifelike dinosaurs in all, including the rides and the skeletons.
Eldika said children can look at the creatures, learn about them and even ride a few. The display features realistic scenes, enormous dinosaurs, cute baby dinosaurs, a dinosaur band and lots of fun activities for children of all ages.
There’s even a fossil dig where young paleontologists can dig up ancient bones, a “Dino Bounce” area with dinosaur-themed, inflatable bounce houses and much more.
According to the website, newdinosaurs.com:
• To learn exactly about these magnificent creatures you really have to go back over 231 million years ago — back to a period of time known as the Triassic Period.
• That’s when the first dinosaurs are believed to have appeared on the planet. They would then go on to rule the planet for over 165 million years.
• This is when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event destroyed 75 percent of all of the animal and plant species on Earth. While it was believed that all dinosaurs died during this extinction event, that is no longer believed to be true.
• Birds are now considered modern dinosaurs and as such, are believed to have been the only dinosaurs to survive this cataclysmic event.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.
If you go
What: T-Rex Planet — simulates what it would be like to experience the Jurassic, Triassic, and Cretaceous periods first hand.
Where: Kingston Armory, 280 Market St.
When: Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
About: “Tracey” — a young T-Rex — greets guests and can be found walking and playing around the exhibit during those times. The main exhibit features life size ultra-realistic animatronic dinosaurs; over 40 lifelike dinosaurs in all with the rides and the skeletons. Children can look at the creatures, learn about them and even ride a few.
Tickets: General admission for adults is $20; children ages 1 to 12) is $25/child and includes tour of the Dino exhibit plus unlimited access to the Fossil Dig and Bounce Castles area and to basketball and darts games and the Dinosaur Band, plus unlimited access to the Dino Theatre. (Dinosaur & ATV rides and all other activities not included in the general admission ticket will be $5 each per ride)
Kids under the age of 1 get in for free; $3 off ticket price per military ID at box office. (Discount not available for online purchases); $3 off ticket price for senior citizens at box office. (Discount not available for online purchases.); All ticket sales are final — no refunds.