The movies would have you believe that the best way to check if an unconscious person is dead or alive is to hold a mirror above their nose and look for condensation. But there’s an easier way well known to paleontologists. Simply shout ‘Do you like dinosaurs?’ Anyone who answers in the negative is definitely dead, at least on the inside. So if you’re a living, breathing, sentient being, chances are you’re pondering whether or not to attend ‘Dinosaurs Unleashed’.
The ‘DU’ experience starts with a slightly hokey ‘time travel’ episode, but things swiftly improve. Information is delivered in bite-size chunks (and that’s microraptor bite rather than allosaurus), sometimes directly addressing the scientific fallacies of ‘Jurassic Park’.
The guides occasionally struggle to make themselves heard over the barrage of ambient noise – mostly simulated primordial jungle sounds and dinosaur roars – but holograms of Chris Packham are stationed by each dinosaur ready to impart useful dietary and behavioural facts if necessary. That said, it’s clear the intention of ‘DU’ is to spark a sense of wonderment that will inspire children to learn more about prehistory when they get home rather than prepare them for their Key Stage 1 stegosaurus studies tests. Our guide was patient and well-informed and answered every question put to him but was clearly preaching to a choir of pre-school dino-geeks.
And the dinosaurs themselves? OHMYGOD! THEY’RE HUUUUGE! THEY’RE THE MOST AMAZING THINGS EVER TO WALK THE EARTH, EVER!!! LOOK! THERE’S A DIPLODOCUS!!!! Which is to say, they definitely do the job of bringing the Pangaean era to life.
Don’t expect too much from the animatronics – the dinosaurs are largely milling about, occasionally inspecting their periphery rather than, say, eating each other or tap-dancing as they might have done in the wild. But that’s enough – it’s the scale and just-near-enough realism of the robots that make the show work. I might be slightly outside the exhibition’s catchment age of two to 12, but the children in our group were uniformly enthralled. Old-school dinosaur fans will be pleased to hear there’s a sweet spot that allows you to pretend a T rex and a triceratops are simultaneously talking to you.
There are a couple of minor quibbles. The famous spiked thumbs of the iguanadon are concealed by an injudiciously placed log and a shadow cast by the beast’s own head. The ‘virtual aquarium’ showcasing unprehistoric undersea creatures will be underwhelming to anyone from the PlayStation 1 era onwards. But these are relatively insignificant compared to the excitement (er… for kids) of taking your first step into the dinotorium and seeing the colossal sauropods up close.
Average User Rating
3.7 / 5
- 5 star:11
- 4 star:3
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:3
- 1 star:4
This website is fantastic and great, especially during the 6 week long summer holidays when you have to spend countless days wondering what to do to entertain your children. There is always something on this website for anybody whatever the age to do in London. As well as that there are always events for the family and with the clear indication above the event stating "family friendly" so you can be ensured that it will be best for you and your family. Plus with that the clear search layout it makes it incredibly easy to find anything that suits your interests and/or personality. Its perfect. And not to mention that this website provides you with full details, contact info, directions, location, pricing list and to top it all of you can see how other people view that particular event. Absolutely amazing. I will continue using this sight as long as I live in London!!! Thankyou!!!
Despite a mixed bag of reviews the children wanted to visit today and we were extremely glad we did. Although leaning to the expensive side (but what isn't in London and this may account for the negative reviews) we all had a great time. The reptile show was excellent and both my daughter aged 7 and nephew aged 6 loved getting up close to a variety of scaly creatures from snakes to lizards that they wouldn't normally touch. I'm not sure if this a regular part of the attraction but it should be. However the main draw was, of course, the dinosaurs. Admittedly they are not as "Unleashed" as you might imagine as movement is somewhat limited but they do give an excellent impression of their original size and appearance. But the best thing about the whole experience is the tour guide who takes you around; and like an earlier reviewer who also mentions him, we were very fortunate to have "Phillip" as our guide. He was outstanding, being informative and funny, involving both adults and children, my nephew loved being asked to be a particular dinosaur (we had to buy him that exact one in the obligatory shop) my daughter was delighted by the tour and my wife and I learnt a whole host of new things. That alone was simply brilliant and great fun for all. If this what is regularly available I cannot understand why there are negative reviews at all. Many thanks to everyone - Phillip in particular.
We read the mixed reviews and decided to give it a go. The dinosaurs are obviously plastic and move minimally, but they are life size and my 5 year old son was totally captivated by the experience. My husband and I really enjoyed the tour and tour guide 'Philip' was brilliant. We all enjoyed by the interactive exhibits. For us the highlight of the day was the 'Reptile Show' where we all got to hold snakes and a tarantula amongst other creatures (this was a half-term extra). A little bit pricey but it is possible to keep the price down by taking a packed lunch to eat in the picnic area and you can get a cheap cup of coffee from the vending machine. Our 3 year old daughter however did not share our enthusiasm for our outing!
We had absolutely fantastic time. I took my daughter yesterday, she was so facinated by the size of dinosaurs and in addition we attended the reptile show, she was touching snakes, lizards and was willing to get her hands on anything. No fear at all! Brilliant day out.
Don't know what all the nay sayers are going on about, me and the kids loved it. Bit expensive but what isn't these days. Like most things in life you get out of it as much as you put into it.
We visited the exhibition last week, all of us found it really interesting and very informative not only for our kids but for us grown ups as well. The best part was a guided tour of course. Not often someone is actually taking you through the exhibition and tells you the facts about what you are looking at. Lots of acivities for kids like the dino quiz and interactive games. Despite the mixed reviews that we read, we are very glad we came.
I would echo the bad reviews. Very bad value for money. Very disappointing effects. Relatively poor experience generally. 'Unleashed' does imply that they are mis-selling this. Even my 2-year old was bored and unimpressed.
the 2 stars are for the guides, both ours and overhearing other tour guides, they were so enthusiatic and really did a great job, everyone's kids loved them! but seriously... the dinosaurs looked rubbish :( i was expecting so much better for £14 each. the few animatronic ones they have in Natural History museum blow my socks off everytime i go, they're real! But these looked plasticy and barely moved, just breathing and opening/closing mouths randomly... we were expecting so much more. And they kept looking at us weird because we just went on our own and don't have kids - ooops...we're big kids and i love dinosaurs just as much as i did as a kid! so My other half bought tickets and we felt so embarassed hahah!! especially when the ticket woman was like "is it just you two?" ooops. But even my 7 year old self wouldn't be that impressed with the dinos but i think i'd be in awe of the guide, same as the other kids - enthusiastic and unpatronising - she knew that most kids who love dinosaurs know their stuff and aren't dumb, she was brill! Take away the guide and you have a massive hole in your wallet (imagine if you got one of the rubbish guides - there might be some!)- Natural History Museum is so much better, more interactive stuff all over - it just felt like there wasn't that much there! It just felt so lo-fi.. the tent shoved in the garden at the side of the O2... it just could have been done so much better!!
Fantastic Exhibition, a great experience, the children loved it! Took our niece & nephew to the attraction they had a wonderful time, the guide was enthusiastic and friendly. The tour lasted about 30 minutes and the guide was engaging and well informed, involving each member of the group. After the tour the children took us around again at their own pace, whilst completing the quiz. We were really pleased that they actually read about the dinosaurs, so hopefully they took a few facts back to their parents. The touch screen painting was their favourite game, perfect for us as they got to paint and went home with clean clothes! All in all a memorable day out as we spent the afternoon on a clipper enjoying the sites from the river, although all the children wanted to talk about was dinosaurs!
Absolute rubbish. Dinosaurs 'unleashed' = dinosaurs doing nothing at all. Jerky amateurish animatronics, plasticy dinosaurs, tourguide who hardly knew what she was talking about - DON'T GO! Clearly trying to hoodwinkpeople who heard about the brilliant 'Walking with dinosaurs', also at the O2 some time ago. Can't say what a rip-off this is.
Overpriced and over crowded. Hard to find information boards. Staff were friendly and knowledgable though. Oh, and trying to get through a tiny shop which was unavoidable when trying to leave was a complete nightmare.Not enough to keep our 4yr old and 6yr old entertained for more than 1/2 hour. Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish. Go to Natural History Museum instead.
My kids and I absolutely loved the exhibition. Guided tour was a big bonus and was rather informative. The whole thing was very educational and loads for the kids to do, could hardly drag them away!
Our kids (5 and 7) were completely absorbed by the whole experience and their enthusiasm was passed on to my wife and I. The tour guide was great and she even taught me a couple of new things. It really fired up their imaginations and after we left the kids kept peppering us with dinosaur questions and I'm now well aware what they want for their birthdays!
Kids loved it, its definitely a kids day out not so much an adults - its designed for them with a tour guide who is helpful and involves the children of all ages in talking about each dinosaur & history on the way around. We had children from about 4 to 11 on our tour and several adults and all the young ones were made to feel involved. There were dino quest games that kept my 2 busy happily gathering facts from all the educational stuff for over an hour and the fossil digs set up / interactive bone construct screens were great fun for them. My youngest did not want to leave. I would say a fantastic experience for children age 4-12
HUGELY DISAPPOINTED!!! We took my fiance's 4 and 6 year old boys who are huge dinosaur enthusiasts, even they got bored after 45 minutes! The tour guides were unenthusiastic and we couldnt hear what they were saying anyway...so we broke away from the tour to keep the boys entertained. The dinosaurs themselves were naff... plastic looking, blatantly anamatronic and unrealistic. The bit that was enjoyed the most was the interactive games which would have been good if there were enough to go around (and if they werent already available to play on the Dinosaurs Unleased website for FREE!!!!!) Listen to the other reviews....dont go, dont waste your money...go to the Natural History Museum!!
Not sure if went to the same Dinosaurs Unleashed as some of the other reviewers as we had a fantastic time. OK so we dont come up to London very often so its all very exciting but as part of our day out the Dinosaurs Unleashed exhibition was great. We caught the river bus from Waterloo which was very good. I had forgotten how stunning London is from the water and the landing was a very short walk from the exhibition. Loads of places to eat as you walk through the O2 and straight in to the "Shed" as one reviewer put it which is actually a very big marque. It also adds to the shock and Wow factor when you walk in and come face to face with a ruddy great Dinosaur. Especially when you walk a little further and realise the Ruddy Great Dinosaur was actually only "snack size"! We were met by a fantastic young lady called Cat who was our guide who took the time to introduce herself to both our daughters and the other children in the group and became a Pied Piper figure who had the kids captivated for the entire tour. We were shown around then left to our own devices to explore and do all the interactive stuff. What was clever were the low level puzzles etc that were perfect for our 3 year old as well as our 7 year old. Interestingly the only thing that failed to excite both our girls were the reproduction skulls at the end of the tour. As these were basically what you get at the Nat His Museum we think maybe its an age thing. As a parent I often feel mugged by the shop at the end of the tour where it takes you for ever to get out and you feel obliged to buy some tat that is unlikely to survive the journey home, so it was a relief to see a smaller selection of good merchandise rather than racks of rubbish. We really enjoyed the Exhibition as well as getting there. If your a natural History buff you may think it comes up short (so go the the NHM). But if your children still have a sense of wonder and can be amazed, amused and entertained by things that engage their imagination rather than just their thumbs they will love it. We are planning to return again at Easter with friends will go by boat again and hope its a little warmer. There are probably cheaper things to do in London but if value for money is gaged by how much your children talk about something and ask you to go back again this is great value. Thanks Cat for making it special.
Went to see the dinosaurs yesterday. Kids (3 and 5) were a little scared at first as we went round with the tour guide but soon warmed to it. Went at 3pm to avoid the queues you get pretty much anywhere in half-term, and went round with a group of about 15 others. Tour lasted about 25 minutes, guide was well-informed and presented well. Then we were free to go around the exhibition on our own at our own pace. Kids liked the aquarium and the touchscreen painting dinosaur but it was the simplest things they liked the most - the jigsaws and the competition quiz. All in all we spent a little over 2 hours in the exhibition and the kids didn't want to leave (through the obligatory 'exit shop').
Very poor value for money considering - its not actually in the dome but in a shed outside of it, its way over priced compared to any other dinasour attraction we've been to. Do not waste your money. Go to the natural history museum instead.
I went to Dinosaurs Unleashed at the O2 at 3 o clock and my 6 year old daughter had plenty of time to see, play and learn more about Dinosaurs. We were on a trip to London and went to Madame Taussauds as well, price was comparable but my daughter preferred the Dinosaurs.
Very poor quality plastic looking dinos. Animatronics disappointing, the big diplodocus opened its mouth & wagged its tail while the little one moved its head side to side & wagged its tail. Not sure if Steggy was broken or they are just know for keeping perfectly still. Was expecting the quality of the scary T rex at the natural history museum. None of these dinos bother to blink!
My two boys love dinosaurs and had a fab time at Dinosaurs unleashed. They found the guides were great and were amazed by the size of the Dinosaurs on display