Dinosaurs in the Desert!

By Mackenzie Pedersen, Staff Writer

Imagine yourself on a remote island with Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill. A seemingly crazy older gentleman has requested your endorsement of his new ‘theme park’. You hop into a gas-powered jeep and – behold! – a herd of giant, long-neck lizards walk across the plain before you (even though they were thought to have been extinct long ago)! You’re stunned. You have no words and can focus only on the heavy question at hand: HOW?!

How positively breathtaking!

In 1993, Steven Speilberg brought Michael Crichton’s masterpiece, Jurassic Park, to life. In the 24, almost 25 years since it’s release, we’ve often asked ourselves: “With technology increasing so rapidly everyday, could we have our very own Jurassic Park in places like San Diego someday??” Unfortunately, as technology has continued to impress us, it also disappoints us. As it turns out, “Dinosaur DNA… does not exist anymore. After a cell dies, enzymes, water and microbes start to break down the bonds holding it together.” This is according to IFL Science’s article Could Jurassic Park Ever Come True?, and makes it difficult to revive a dinosaur after millions of years (who would’ve guessed?). So the answer is a sad, resonating, ‘Nope!’ But that doesn’t mean we can’t try!


The Phoenix Zoo unearths some hope for those who have dreamt of a real-life Jurassic Park!

Image found on Phoenix Zoo Facebook Page

Beginning October 6th until April 30th, the Phoenix Zoo will be hosting a variety of DINOSAURS! This will allow for the public (meaning you and your friends and family) to gawk, stare, and fantasize over real-life (animatronic) gargantuan, scaly creatures. Each dinosaur on this wondrous self-guided tour through prehistoric eras moves and emits and an array of noises. These dinosaurs are going to be arranged on the Desert Lives Trail, and you can embark on this journey back in time for the very low price of $5 for non-members and $4 for zoo members. The Phoenix Zoo is also providing members the opportunity to buy an all-exclusive pass with unlimited visits to the curious dinosaur friends for approximately $39 (what a steal)! With 23 prehistoric creatures, you will have the opportunity to behold dinosaurs and flying reptiles such as:

  • Carnotarus
  • Edomontonia
  • Coelophysis
  • Utahraptor
  • Diabloceratops
  • Citipati
  • Quetzacoatlus
  • And of course, the king of all dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus Rex!

Each creature was carefully chosen to represent the various dinosaurs found in the southwestern region, meaning that many of these dinosaurs are local! Additionally, because scientists don’t have a definitive conclusion as to how each of these amazing creatures were colored, the Phoenix Zoo took some creative liberties and colored each dinosaur’s skin like that of a local endangered animals For example, the Diabloceratops will be colored like the Desert Spiny Lizard, the Edomontonia is colored to represent a Gila Monster, and the Carnotarus will resemble a Jaguar. The Stegosaurus mother and baby were designed according to two contest winners’ drawings.

The main focus of the exhibit is education, and the Phoenix Zoo has eloquently enabled this with educational signage, knowledgeable staff and volunteers, and activities for children of all ages (0-99) to participate in, such as a paleontological dig! According to The Phoenix Zoo’s Director of Communications, Linda Hardwick, “as part of the exhibit, educational signage will also be found with each dinosaur, highlighting size and interesting facts known about that particular species, including how their adaptations compare to modern species.” While the Phoenix Zoo asks that no one touch, ride, or attempt to feed the dinosaurs, there will be a dinosaur at the end of the trail specifically designed for climbing and riding, enabling all of your photographic needs!

Image courtesy of The Phoenix Zoo Facebook Page

However, if you really cannot control how much your children (or yourself) want to touch the dinosaurs, there will be a volunteer or a staff member walking around with a piece of dino-skin for all of your textile-sensation needs.

On another exciting note, the Dinosaurs will not be limited to the Desert Lives trail. There will be various events throughout the fall season at the Phoenix Zoo, such as The Phoenix Zoo’s Black Tie Gala Fundraising event, Rendez-zoo, the Zoo’s annual Halloween spooktacular, Howl-o-ween, and the highly anticipated, ZooLights. During these various events, some of the dinosaurs will make their way off the Desert Lives Trail to greet lovely patrons around the lake. For those dinosaurs who will not be able to make it down, the Dinosaurs in the Desert exhibition will be open during these events as well. I do want to make known that the success of these events relies heavily on the amazing people who volunteer. So, if you would like to hang out with the dinosaurs and all the other great creatures at the phoenix zoo by volunteering during any of these fall events, please contact Indie Lewis at volunteer@phoenixzoo.org. But if you volunteer or not, be sure to visit The Phoenix Zoo between October 6th and April 30th to embark on the journey of a lifetime!

Here is a sneak peek of the amazing creatures descending upon The Phoenix Zoo!

Image provided by The Phoenix Zoo
Image provided by The Phoenix Zoo
Image found The Phoenix Zoo Facebook Page
Image provided by The Phoenix Zoo
Image provided by The Phoenix Zoo


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