Dinosaur Petting Zoo educates, entertains children and adults

Russell Edem | Collegian Ra Jobe (pronounced "Ray") shows a young audience member the teeth of a juvenile T-Rex during the Dinosaur Petting Zoo performance at McCain Auditorium on Monday.

Dinosaurs have not walked on this Earth in 65 million years — until recently. Dinosaurs visited McCain Auditorium on Monday for the Dinosaur Petting Zoo performance, presented by Erth Visual and Physical Inc.

These dinosaurs, however, were only puppets. The puppeteers interacted with audience members, especially children, to make the show a unique experience. About five different types of dinosaurs from all over the world were presented.

“My favorite dinosaur was the T-Rex. He was cool,” said Noah Godderz, a child from Manhattan who attended the show.

The T-Rex was a very large puppet between 10 and 12 feet tall. It roared, walked and moved around like a real animal. In one part of the show, performers had to remove a bad tooth from the T-Rex and asked children from the audience to help. After the tooth was removed, the creature roared and chased the children around the stage, making them scream and laugh. Some members of the audience jumped to their feet, yelling and applauding.

Another dinosaur featured at the show was the small, bipedal Leaellynasaura. There were two hatchlings and two adults of this species. This dinosaur seemed to be popular among the children in the audience.

“My favorite dinosaur in the show was the Leaellynasaura,” said Ann Hess, a child from Manhattan who attended the show.

The herbivorous Leaellynasaura was a smaller dinosaur compared to some of the others in the show. It had large eyes compared to other dinosaurs, leading scientists to believe that the species was able to hunt and see better in low-light conditions.

“We believe this dinosaur could be one of the smarter ones because of its ability to see and hunt in the dark,” said Ra Jobe, show performer. “Being able to see in the dark tells us it would have a larger brain to be able to perform this function.”

As each different dinosaur came out, performers told the audience a little story about that dinosaur to explain where it came from, what type it was, its diet and when it lived on the earth.

“The show was very good and educational to the children in the audience as well as the adults,” said Randy Harris, Manhattan resident, who attended the show with his wife.

Erth Visual and Physical Inc., the Australia-based company that presented the show, was started in 1990 with the goal of putting on live theatrical performances that people have never seen.

“We came up with the show in order to show people dinosaurs in a different way, and to educate them in a way that has not been done before,” Jobe said.

The Dinosaur Petting Zoo was started in a museum in Australia in order to educate visitors. The show has been performed for five years and only has been in the U.S. for about two years.