Some families travel to grandma's house over the holidays. Some travel to Disneyland. Some travel to Hawaii to surf, or to the mountains to ski. Some travel abroad. It's not a competition, but if it were, we'd be the total winners, because we traveled millions of years back in time!
On Christmas Day, we watched the Bay Area's debut performance of Walking With Dinosaurs" The Arena Spectacular. This show is unlike any you've ever seen! When I first heard of it, I thought it was like an exhibit that you could roam around in, looking at dinosaur models moving their legs and roaring. I couldn't be more wrong. It's actually a stage show, with life-sized animatronic dinosaurs walking around!
Walking With Dinosaurs; The Arena Spectacular is the live stage version of the BBC documentary series Walking With Dinosaurs. As such, it's doesn't have a plot or story line like most stage shows; it's more like a documentary that traces the history of the dinosaurs from the Triassic period, through the Jurassic Period and the Cretaceous period, to the point where dinosaurs became extinct via a meteor collision (that's the theory, anyway). The show emcee is constantly narrating the history of the plants and animals that were alive during the period, and makes the show really interesting by sharing lots of facts and trivia about the dinos on stage. The show features some of the most popular dinosaurs, including stegasaurus, velociraptor, brachiosaurus, and of course, the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex.
The animatronic dinosaurs are amazing! Each one is life sized, and the amount of detail on each dinosaur is impressive, down to the wrinkles and folds and bumps on their skin. The smallest baby dinos are remote controlled creatures, the "smaller" (that is, human-sized) dinos are actually men in suits, while the larger dinos are animatronic "cars" -- the dinos are on a stand and connected to a small "car" disguised as a rock (you can see the "rocks"/"cars" right underneath the dinos in the photo below).
We really enjoyed the show. It's very educational and the production is really impressive. A friend of mine took her son a few years ago (he must have been 4 or 5) and said that he was a bit scared of the dinosaurs, so bear that in mind when you are taking young children. The dinosaurs don't get too close to the audience (although you really, really want them to!), but the roar of the T-Rex can be startling.
Walking With Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacular is showing at the SAP Center in San Jose this weekend only, and continues its West Coast run in Sacramento and Salt Lake City through early January (check the website for show schedules). But after that it's traveling to Australia, so don't wait for this show to be extinct! Buy your tickets now, because it could be another 65 million years before the dinosaurs come back!
Disclosure: I received press tickets to view the show. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.