Friday 13 September 2013

Meet the dinosaurs at bristol zoo

Lucas rides a model T-Rex at Bristol Zoo
Not content with learning to ride a bike, Lucas now rides a T-rex...
Last year Bristol Zoo put on a summer exhibition of animatronic dinosaurs. I remember Lucas was tremendously excited about it.  Well, for one reason or another (probably laziness on my part) we never got round to going to see the dinosaurs.

This year, by virtue of having a Gromit smack-bang outside the zoo, I felt that I rather had to take him, so off we trundled to the zoo.

The first dinosaur we spotted was Edmontonia.  You'd never guess that this was discovered in Edmonton, would you?  This huge herbivore is quite friendly despite all the spikes that cover its body.
Lucas with Edmontonia
I love this picture of Lucas with Edmontonia--doesn't it look like he's been Photoshopped into Jurassic Park?

Lurking in the trees and tall grasses behind Edmontonia we spotted Carnotaurus.  Luckily it wasn't very hungry!
The Giant Tortoises live just behind the Carnotaurus, so we popped round the corner to see them.  First, though...

Doesn't Lucas make a cute Giant Tortoise?
Maybe they were sun-drunk, or just in a curious mood, but the Giant Tortoises were very lively.  One lumbered over towards us, paused at the top of the bank and then seemed to say "Wheee!" as it slid down the slope.  Not only have I never seen a Giant Tortoise slide down a slope, but it then walked along the length of the viewing glass, craning its neck up to look at everyone.  The tortoises delicately nibble grass or have fun pushing trees over...I've never seen one so inquisitive!  I just wish I'd thought to take a video.
Watching it get back up the slope was absolutely hilarious.  After several false starts, and sliding back down, it found its footing and heaved itself back up to flat ground.  It was so lovely to have such close contact with a Giant Tortoise--we felt very privileged (although we did stifle a few giggles).

We said a reluctant goodbye and hurried off to find the T-rex  just in time for the talk from the Dino-Zoo Ranger.  Lucas read the map and got us there just in time--I think he must take after Dave in that respect...
"Trevor" the Tyranosaurus Rex
This is "Trevor" the T-Rex.  He had a very noisy roar...and very big teeth.  Thirty centimetres long, according to the sign by his enclosure.  Yikes!  Why on earth would anyone want to clone him?  Why, yes...Jurassic Park still terrifies me, why do you ask?
Suki, the baby T-Rex
The DinoZoo Ranger really made our day awesome.  She introduced us all to Suki, a super-cute baby T-Rex.  Even though you could see that she was wearing a (very elaborate) glove puppet, the Ranger really made all the children believe that this was a real baby T-Rex who loved being stroked and the occasional nibble of a finger as a tasty treat.

We were told that Suki was about three months old and that her Daddy, Trevor, was about 20 years old.  Apparently her Mummy would have been even bigger than Trevor, so that she could scare away predators from her young!

The kids (and kids at heart) were able to ask lots of questions about dinosaurs and Lucas was absolutely entranced by Suki and even let her nibble on his finger a little.  He said afterwards that it was even better than the Gorilla Talk, and that's his favouritest part of any zoo visit.

The next dinosaur we found was the Citipati which is very much like an emu, and unsurprisingly is the link between non-avian dinosaurs and birds.  It was really obliging and posed nicely for a picture while merrily chirping away.

Spider Monkey
We walked through the Monkey House on our way to find the next dinosaurs.  The Spider Monkey came down from his high perch to visit with us and performed all sorts of acrobatics to Lucas's delight.
Good advice for dinosaurs!

Dilophosaurus, two-crested lizard. Watch out, it spits!
I approached the Dilophosauruses cautiously...I have vivid memories of spitting dinosaur models at other attractions and ending up unexpectedly soaked through.  Thankfully this dinosaur produced a fine mist, rather than a drenching!

Two tapir and a capybara
The Tapir and Capybara were also out enjoying the sunshine!

The Therizinosaurus was amazing.  And I was so proud of Lucas when he pointed out that its scythe-like claws looked like those of the Slitheen!  My little geek!

Brace yourselves...the next two dinosaurs are real mouthfuls!  Here we have a Mummy Parasaurolophus protecting her nest of newly hatched babies from the Compsognathus who are sneaking through the grass.  Newly hatched dino babies are even tastier than eggs!

Lucas loves the "Are you as fast as a cheetah?" test at the zoo.  I don't know if he's as fast as a cheetah, but he's way too fast for my phone camera!

The dinosaur dig was really cool.  Lucas loved gently brushing away sand and slowly revealing a fossilised skeleton like a proper paleontologist.  I had fun, too!

The Suchomimus was ferocious.  Its name means "crocodile mimic" and you can certainly see why!  Its jaws snapped which sent us scurrying for the safety of the edible garden.
An edible garden
At last!  A dinosaur that I could both recognise and pronounce!!  Helloooo, Stegosaurus!

And here is our last dinosaur of the day...the fearsome-looking Quezalcoatlus.

Look closely--you can see Concorde, loads of Bristol's churches, the Suspension Bridge...
Just as we were leaving, the lions came out to play!  The cubs have grown so much since we last saw them.  It was so lovely to see them playing together in the sunshine!

Last, but by no means least, we claimed the Gromit in front of the Zoo as we left.

A Mandrill's Best Friend Gromit
A Mandrill's Best Friend
A Mandrill's Best Friend is painted like, you guessed it, a mandrill.  Right down to the bright red bottom--Lucas found this hilarious--which was shaped like a heart.

DinoZoo 2 has been extended to the 15th of September, so you've still got a few days to hunt down some dinosaurs for yourself.  Go's great fun!

DinoZoo 2 @Bristol Zoo
Bristol Zoo Gardens


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  1. We had an exhibit like that and I loved it! I was the only little girl who slept with a dinosaur!

    1. Dinosaurs rock! It really bothers me that they get categorised as a "boy thing". After all, there were plenty of girl dinosaurs too!

  2. That's so cool! We had something like this come to town last winter, but it was indoors and really, very freaky. I like this outdoors setup and I like that there are "real" animals mixed in with the animatronic. It makes them ALL seem real.

    1. The animatronic dinosaurs get even more sophisticated every year. I did wonder what the animals at the zoo must have made of the new and weird roars!

  3. Wow what a lot of fun! I love that it really looks like a dinosaur zoo rather than a stuffy old museum!
    (Popped off from Friendly Friday)

    1. Definitely. As cool as dinosaur skeletons are, they're not a patch on seeing (almost) the real thing! xx

  4. Looks like you had a great day out! :)

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