By: Lauren Charley
Photos by: Mike Farkas
Step back in time through history to the alluring supercontinent of Pangea, when dinosaurs dominated the land in the Jurassic period. Walk between the legs of an Apatosaurus towering over you. Run from the jagged, razor sharp jaws of a T-Rex, feeding on the carcass of a brave Triceratops who sacrificed his life to save his family. Hear them roar, watch them feed, and see them roam in their natural habitats, all in this astonishingly life-like exhibit situated in the one of Canada’s favourite family tourist destinations: Niagara Falls, Canada.
Located inside the famous Skylon Tower, in the heart of the Clifton Hill tourist area, comes a new and exhilarating experience for tourists and locals to enjoy. The “Battle of the Titans” dinosaur exhibit acclaimed as “the ultimate dinosaur event of the year”, is the perfect outing for families and adventure seekers who want to participate in a one-of-a-kind, hands on learning experience about the largest and most unusual creatures to ever exist. The exhibit opened for March break 2014 and will run until January 2015. Children and parents can engage in this educational activity on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through May 9th and daily this summer. Attendees will learn about many of history’s monstrous species, featuring the two “behemoths”, the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Triceratops.
The exhibit is created by DV3 Imagineering Inc./ Dino Daze Inc. and David van Velzen, whose past projects have included historical ¬¬presentations about the Titanic, JFK, Princess Diana, The Vatican, and China’s Imperial Palace, The Forbidden City. Battle of the Titans this year is five times larger than it was during the 2012 exhibit at the Royal Botanical Gardens, now offering over 20,000 square feet of custom sets, animatronic dinosaurs, and hands-on educational activities. The design and construction of the site began on December 15th 2013, and although it is almost completed, the project is still currently acquiring new additions each week.
Visitors are welcome to engage in a self-guided tour of over a century of scientific research, which includes visual reading material and interactive learning tools. The interactive encounter features life size models of the dinosaurs with realistic audio, cast fossils, video clips, and living dioramas of the creatures. The dinosaurs recreate a life-like experience for guests who can see them feed, move, roar, and even fight! Kids and their parents will be educated about the habitats when dinosaurs ruled the remnants of Pangea. Students coming with their school on a field trip are provided with an optional learning curriculum activity for an even more enriching experience. The popularity of the exhibit has attracted visitors from schools in Niagara Falls to Toronto, and some enquires have even been made from institutions in the United States.
David van Velzen, the “Chief Imaginator” of DV3 Imagineering Inc. and the man behind the marketing and creation of the “Battle of the Titans” exhibit, believes in offering young people the chance to study prehistoric history through an interactive and visual learning experience. He believes strongly in the concept of “edutainment”, with his philosophy being “when people are entertained, it is easier for them to keep engaged, and therefore easier for them to learn.” For this reason, David and his colleagues have designed the attraction with many hands-on activities for everyone to enjoy. One unique activity is a motion captured video game where the player imitates the flying action of a Pterasaur while they hunt for fish and avoid predators, by standing in front of a green background which presents the motions on a TV screen. Kids can also experience what it’s like to be a paleontologist by digging for bones either in the virtual dig pit, or a mock fossil site where dinosaur parts are uncovered by sifting through rubber sand. In addition to the life-size models, visitors can operate a pneumatic robot, controlled by levers using air. One unique feature of the dioramas is that the plants on display are 100% real, requiring watering on a regular basis.
When guests enter the marvelous attraction, families are given the opportunity to take their photo on a green screen, which is then transferred to a souvenir photo, superimposed on a backdrop of luscious vegetation featuring the monstrous behemoths themselves. The souvenir photos, along with puzzles, mini dig-pits, books, toys, and educational games are available for purchase in the DinoStore gift shop at the end of the journey around “Battle of the Titans”.
DV3 Imagineering Inc. hopes that “Battle of the Titans” may stay at the Skylon Tower for two seasons; however, the exhibit has received interest from groups in cities in the United States, as well as Macau, China. For now, the Niagara Falls exhibit this season is a great opportunity for locals and visitors to engage in a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy.
“Battle of the Titans” dinosaur exhibit is open daily from 9am to 10pm. Admission is $11.95 for adults, $9.95 for children, or a family pass for two adults and two children for $34.95 plus taxes. More info at battleofthetitans.ca