Just in time for summer zoo visits, the Bronx Zoo debuts Dinosaur Safari on Saturday, May 25, a guided wagon tour past 23 life-like dinosaur species—from the vegetarian, long-necked Brachiosaurus and imposing Tricerotops to the iconically scary Tyrannosaurus Rex. Says Bronx Zoo director and WCS executive vice president Jim Breheny, “We’ve created an immersive experience—an adventure that transports people back in time and makes an impact.”
The exhibit is set up in the woods “in dramatic fashion” along serpentine paths—designed so you view it six or seven feet off the ground, from your vantage point on the wagon—and it's full of surprises, says Breheny. “Sixteen dinosaurs move, roar, spit or do some animatronic move [as you pass by], so it’s like you’re going on a safari.” But as much as the exhibition is meant to remind New Yorkers how worthy the zoo is as a destination, it’s equally designed to get kids’ excitement up about the zoo’s animals. Participants get an illuminating dinosaur field guide, which highlights adaptation similarities between dinosaurs and animals living today. “Once they leave the exhibition,” says Breheny, “they can look at similar adaptation in zoo animals.” One such connection: the elongated necks of Brachiosaurus, which have the same function as those of giraffes—to exploit a food source other species can’t reach. We're especially looking forward to meeting the zoo director's favorite dino: Breheny admitted that however unimaginative the choice may seem, “the T. Rex [always] makes the biggest impact on me.”
Accompanying the exhibit is a slew of programming: a new theatrical show,Adaptations! A Dinosaur Musical, which debuts on Memorial Day weekend at the Asia Theater (May 25–27 at 12:30, 1:15, 2:30, 3:30pm); various meet-and-greets throughout the summer (including Ice Age's costumed characters Sid and Scrat May 25–26 at 1, 2:30, 3:30pm); fossil impressions, Ice Age crafts or dinosaur-themed projects; and "Dinosaurs Rock," an exhibit of life-size dinosaur artifacts and fossils at Grizzly Corner (July 27–Aug 11 11am–4pm), with special presentations on weekends (Sat, Sun 1, 2,:30, 3:30pm).
Dinosaur Safari is up at the Bronx Zoo from May 25 to September 8.