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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Discover the Dinosaurs: Post Show Review

Okay, last weekend was the Discover the Dinosaurs show in Boston. My earlier article seemed to be a popular place, so I thought I would review our visit. My wife and I took our five year old there. Five and a half if you ask him. He'll be six next week... Here's my rundown of the show.
The show was in town for just three days. I didn't buy tickets beforehand so when we arrived at the Seaport World Trade Center the ticket line was out the door and down the street. The long line was a start of a common theme for the day. While waiting on line, a woman and her son asked to get through to the Dunkin Donuts on the other side, which she said was a reward for not having to wait on the line inside for something he wanted. At that point, I started to buy tickets on my phone while still waiting. The phone tickets went through smoothly and we left the first line to get on the line to get inside. Very good move to buy the tickets that way. Easily saved 20-30 minutes I'd say.


Once inside, you go through this grand Jurassic Journey entrance. After the entrance, there were forms to fill out for a Universal Park trip sweepstakes and a scavenger hunt quiz pickup for the kids. My son quickly moved on towards the "museum-quality" dinosaurs, of which there were supposedly over sixty on exhibit. No time for the sweepstakes. I toyed with the idea of grabbing a form to fill out later and find some way to return to the entrance but decided against it. The exit was elsewhere so we wouldn't be going through there again. Yes, it was hard to pass up entering for the trip.

Once past the entrance area, the display of the animated dinosaurs started. They moved and roared loudly. If you have a kid who doesn't like loud noises, this was not the place to be. Some dinosaurs were huge, some smaller. Each exhibit area had multiple dinosaurs in them, usually one really large one and several smaller ones, but that wasn't always the case.
For the first two or three exhibit areas, my son spent an extended period of time at them. After the third or fourth one, he spent barely a minute at each, just to name the dinosaur type. Some areas had buttons to press to trigger the movement / interactions, but many just were animated on their own. Even with the buttons to slow things down a little, they were always in action.
I quoted the "museum-quality" descriptor before because that is their word choice describing the exhibits. In my opinion, these aren't museum quality. I don't recall ever seeing the quality of these dinosaurs in any museum. The only place I might see something like this is a ride at Disney or Universal. Museums are more for the unanimated bones, nothing really loud and animated. There were some of the motionless bones around which you could touch and take your picture with, but it was difficult to get a clear shot of them without having to wait an extended period of time to not have someone else in the picture with your child. And our child had no interest (yet) of waiting around.

Getting through the area with all the animated dinosaurs took a whopping twenty minutes. That was the end of the free area. While we could always go back through the area and look again, we never returned except to walk through to other areas.

More than half the hall was dedicated to other things, almost all of which weren't free. The two things I saw which were free were a coloring area and a non-stop playing of some animated movies, which offered some seating. No interest in either from my son.

The first place we stopped at next was the gift shop. They had your show t-shirts, stuffed dinosaurs, dinosaur figures, dinosaur games, and plenty of other dinosaur-related goodies. The prices here weren't unreasonable, surprisingly. However, the line to buy anything wrapped around the whole store and nearly went out the store entrance. There was no way we were waiting in that line. I can see why that other woman and her son ended up at Dunkin Donuts.

The line my son was interested in was for the bounce houses. They were huge with obviously huge dinosaurs, or the like, on top. At first, I thought this was free, but I quickly found out otherwise. Leaving my wife and son on that line, I went to the ticket buying line.
The ticket line went surprisingly fast. They offered a $20 ride all you want bracelet or $2/ticket pricing. The bounce houses were 4 tickets or $8. The bracelet didn't include all the activities though. The face painting and mining activities were priced separately. Most activities were $6 or $8 each, where the face painting depended upon the type of painting done. I only bought enough tickets for the inflatables. After seeing that line, I wasn't expecting our son to last to even ride that once so I wasn't going to buy more tickets. If he did last, I could always get more if necessary.

After getting the tickets and returning to the family, I decided to check out the line we were waiting on a little more. It literally went the length of half the building, and then wrapped back and forth five times. All that to bounce for ten minutes, which explained why the line moved in bits and spurts. We waited over an hour before it was time to play, becoming instant friends with the family in front of us.

During the wait, I went to grab some food at the snack bar. We had eaten beforehand but wanted some munchies. The line moved quickly but they had run out of everything due to the size of the crowd. No french fries, no pizza, no fresh fruit cup, not much of anything. I grabbed a couple hot dogs and a soft pretzel for $12, $4 each, just to get something.

After our ten minutes of fun, it was time to move on. While leaving the bounce house area, we overheard a dad asking his kids if they wanted to go again (having to wait another hour). I thought he was nuts. For the most part, our son had a good time bouncing around and sliding but was done and not really interested in doing anything else. So, we left, passing the turn in area for the scavenger hunt on the way out. If you finished the hunt quiz correctly, you got to spin a wheel to get a prize. I didn't see what the prizes were so I can't comment on them, but that was one place without a line.

The other activities not mentioned include miniature golf and some dinosaur rides. There were maybe a half dozen holes to the golf course and there were four stationary rocking dinos for the 42" and over crowd. The rides just didn't look that exciting, apart from a good picture opportunity.

Overall, it was an expensive day. The tickets cost $52. $17/adult, $12/child, and a $3 online fee. Parking in Boston was $20. Food cost $12. Bounce house cost $8. For a total of  $92.

We spent a total of only about two hours in the exhibit hall, but our son really enjoyed the place. We hadn't told him where we were going beforehand so he was surprised when we got there. Would we do it again? Sure. Just be prepared to wait and keep your wallet open.

Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. See my disclosure policy for more information.

10 comments:

  1. We attended the same event in Providence, RI this past week. It had lots of very happy kids under the age of 6. My nine year old was bored to the point of tears.

    It has the air of a very earnest high school production run by Carnies in rehab.

    Bought tickets in advance (non-refundable) and heeded the excellent advice to avoid peak hours.

    If we had been subjected to long lines, it would have been a trial.

    I do wish I had read reviews elsewhere, first.

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  2. We attended this event a few weeks back. My kids had a great time they are 6 and 9. Both of our kids love dinosaurs, they loved the moving dinosaurs and really enjoyed the many dinosaurs activities at the event. The 6 years keeps asking when the dinosaurs are coming back. Great event at least for our kids.

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  3. Yes I would agree the lines were long. But it was worth it. I had heard people say Friday was not as busy. So next time I will make sure to try Friday in place of the Sunday when we were there.

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  4. My family and I attended this event in Florida this past weekend and was a total ripoff! Good thing the tickets we had were free! My kids ages 9, 8, and 1 were all uninteresed. We left there and went to Chuck E Cheese where we knew they would enjoy themselves.

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  5. I took my two children (ages 5 and 7) today to the event in Chicago. Your review is spot on. I would add that the overcrowding and the really substandard catering at this particular venue really dampened the fun factor. The bounce houses were a hit, but the lines were insane. I bought our tickets online in advance, and that was definitely the way to go, but it ticks me off to pay so much and THEN to have the more fun things cost even more than that. I am sure my kids would both have really enjoyed the Dino Maze, the Gem and Fossil panning, and the facepainting, but I was already feeling like a sucker so I refused to pay more. We did end up buying some souvenir "light sabers" with plastic dino heads, and a couple of geode key chains. Then I had to pay for parking at the venue ($13) and nevermind the stress of trying to drive in downtown Chicago, in the winter, with tons of traffic and construction and detours. What a mess. I would say that this definitely did not meet my standards for JPUs (jollies per unit). Maybe a different location (i.e. less populous city) would be a better experience?

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  6. I TOOK MY 6 YEAR SON TO THIS PLACE TODAY!!!!!!!!!!! WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY!!!!!!!!! OVER PRICED AND NOT WORTH IT .......... TO SAY THE LEAST ......... $22 FOR HIM $18 FOR ME THE RIDE THEY HAD DIDNT LAST 1 MIN AND HE WAS ONLY ABLE TO STAY IN THE JUMPING THING 10 MINS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEN I HAD TO COME OUT OF POCKET TO PAY FOR MORE STUFF LIKE FACE PAINTING!!!!!!!!!!! THE FOOD WAS NASTY AND WAY OVER PRICED!!!!!!!!!! I SPENT $150 FOR NOTHING WHAT A WAST OF TIME AND MONEY........... PARENTS DONT WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!! #BIGRIPOFF

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  7. positive reviews are 3 or 4 sentences and unspecific, while negative reviews are lengthy and detailed. i guess the propaganda department is understaffed. also a great big gap from the positive comments on 9-11-13 to negative comments on 1-6-14, they must be deleting the bad reviews. my opinion follows: the most ridiculous waste of time and money ever! way too expensive and way too little to see & do! $22. for the privilege of standing in line for 20 min. to buy another ticket for an activity that should have been included in the admission price and has a line itself queued up for another half hour wait! i totally expected the $6. pretzel and $3. bottle of water but to stand in line for (no exaggeration here) more than an entire hour with a couple children that are dying to get out of the house only to have 5 min of play time on a bouncy-slide... the worst part by far was the fact that the event was so grossly oversold it was absolutely shoulder-to-shoulder in the building. i am currently looking for the company responsible (blue star productions out of MN. ) so that i can avoid subjecting my family to another of their grossly overrated events.

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    1. I don't delete any bad reviews. Thanks for the feedback of the show.

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  8. Not worth the time and money, spent $67 on three adult and one child and was only in there for 10 min. The dinosaurs barely worked and the tiny ones that weren't animatronic were dirty and broken. The inflatables were sad and had very long lines, even the face painting would take an hour in line. We were so disappointed that we tried to get a refund from the only manger running the whole thing, a blonde mustached guy, who said they didn't do refunds, and when we left he was out having a smoke break. DON'T GO- its a waste the museums around the area are cheaper and better organized.

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  9. Just went to this so called "Discover the Dinosaurs" event in Secaucus, NJ . It should be rename to "Discover your Wallet." This is by far the biggest ripoff I have ever been too. This event charged $28 per ticket for kids and $24 for adults. This scam was basically a big warehouse filled with large rubber dinosaurs, some actually moved, and some inflatables for kids. The rubber dinosaurs get boring after 20 minutes or so viewing and the inflatables, strictly for little kids, had a waiting time of well over a hour. There was also a mini golf section which was a big joke. You're better off hitting some golf balls into a thrash can at home. A lot cheaper. Also, they charged extras for certain things like face painting for the kids. I was so disappointed. Many of the parents, I overheard, expressed the same sentiment saying how terrible this event was. Do yourself a favor, avoid this event when it returns to the metropolitan area. A big waste of time and money....

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