Dinosaurs are roaring into Hartford, just in time to feast on kids on spring break.
“Discover the Dinosaurs: Time Trek, Dragon Edition” is a long-running educational show. This year, West Hartford-based marketing and event firm BuzzEngine was called into service to help revamp the visitor experience. They brought in Hartford artists Anne Cubberly and Joey Marsocci to contribute dino-designs. The show has been traveling nationwide since December and now comes to the Connecticut Convention Center for a two-day run.
Cubberly, best known in Hartford for creating Night Fall, designed a dinosaur skeleton puppet that is used in a sideshow presentation.
“The legs move, its little baby arms move, the jaw moves, the tail moves,” says Cubberly. “In the show, they talk about fossils and let kids meet the dinosaur.”
“It doesn’t represent one dinosaur,” Cubberly says. “It represents a bunch of dinosaurs.” However, to give it an identity, the show has decided to call it an Allosaurus.
Marsocci, who worked on the design for the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios in California, drew conceptual designs for some attractions in the show and made some features himself, including the dino egg incubator, magnetic boards to create dinosaur dioramas and the dinosaur poop attraction.
“You put your hand in the poop and try to tell if the dino was a meat-eater or a vegetarian,” Marsocci says. “Either you feel bones and fur or you feel hay.”
Other attractions at “Discover” are animatronic dragons and skeletons, paleontologist stage shows, Design-a-Dino, The Fossil Identification Unit, Roar-o-Meter, Race-Through-Time Labyrinth, Mission: Challenge Zone, Time Trek Stage, Can You Dig It?, Veloci-Crafters Activity Station, Destination: Dino Nest, Dragon Breath Replicator, Dragon Scales and Destination: Castle Courtyard.
All of the above-mentioned attractions are included in the price of admission. Fossil Find, Face Painting and a tote bag require an additional fee.
DISCOVER THE DINOSAURS: TIME TREK, DRAGON EDITION is at Connecticut Convention Center, 100 Columbus Blvd. in Hartford, on April 14 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and April 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission for early bird (through April 13) $19.99 adults and children, $16.99 senior; at the door $26 adults and children, $23 seniors. discoverthedinosaurs.com.
Dinos reign supreme in several venues statewide:
“Jurassic Giants: A Dinosaur Adventure,” which has 12 animatronic dinosaurs and other dino-focused interactive attractions, will be at Mystic Aquarium, 55 Coogan Blvd. in Mystic, until the end of the year. mysticaquarium.org.
“Dinosaurs in Your Backyard: A Portal to Past Worlds” is an exhibit at The Children’s Museum, 950 Trout Brook Drive in West Hartford. The show includes fossils, footprints, bones, 3D dinosaur models and a game show. thechildrensmuseumct.org.
The Connecticut Science Center, at 250 Columbus Blvd. in Hartford, has a “Planet Earth” area where visitors can dig for fossils and hear the roar of a Dilophosaurus. Science Alley, in the lobby, features a stylized skeleton of a dinosaur. ctsciencecenter.org.
The Great Hall of Dinosaurs at Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, 170 Whitney Ave. in New Haven, features skeletons of dinos and an “Age of Reptiles” mural of dinosaur life. Outside the museum is a life-sized bronze statue of a Torosaurus. peabody.yale.edu.
Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum, 400 West St. in Rocky Hill, has early Jurassic fossil tracks made 200 million years ago, as well as prehistoric dioramas and fossils. dinosaurstatepark.org.
The Dinosaur Place at Nature’s Art Village, 1650 Hartford-New London Turnpike in Oakdale, has more than 40 life-size models of dinosaurs on its nature trails, as well as a dino-themed playground. naturesartvillage.com/the-dinosaur-place