Dinosaurs in the Wild is a brilliant immersive experience that makes a great family day out, especially for older kids. It’s located in the Greenwich peninsula near to the O2, and the experience lasts around an hour and a half. We went along to try it out earlier this week, and we were all really impressed with it.
The first thing we were struck by is how realistic the experience is. We’ve done lots of dinosaur themed attractions over the years but Dinosaurs in the Wild has a carefully constructed back story and narrative that makes it appear very believable.
I had heard that some aspects of the experience can be scary, so decided to emphasise to my kids before we went that it was not actually real, as my 6 year old can be a little sensitive at times and I didn’t want him to panic! After visiting, I would say that was the right decision as he was able to enjoy it without worrying.
In this review, I will tell you what happens throughout the tour including the ending. So if you don’t want spoilers, don’t read til the end, but if you do want to know what is included and whether it will be suitable for your child then hopefully this will help!
When you first start the experience, you go into a little room to wait to board your time machine. There is company info there for “Chronotex” with a timeline and information on how this company had developed the art of time travel and then decided to make a dinosaur bunker, which is of course the place you will be visiting during the tour. You also get a safety video and “safety googles”, and then you’re ready to board.
The safety goggles are actually 3d glasses, and your warned to wear them whenever coming near to an outside window. These make the views of the dinosaurs much clearer. After a quick journey in the time machine, you move on to a transport that takes you to the dinosaur lab, and this bit is really impressive with lots of dinosaurs to see through the window at the front, along with commentary from the tour guide.
Once you arrive to the bunker, you then go through a series of different rooms, each time accompanied by guides who stay in character as Chronotex employees.
The rooms include a dinosaur lab, where you see samples like a T-Rex tooth and a beating dinosaur heart. The lab scientist here was really great, engaging and interacting with the children and again the whole room was so realistic! With each of the rooms, you get a quick talk from the guide telling you about the room and what’s going on, and then you get a few minutes to explore it on your own, before you move on to the next one.
You move from room to room fairly quickly, so there is no time to get bored at each location, but you do get enough time to see everything. It’s very well organised and well controlled. You stay with your family group at all times, and will have a few other families with you too, making a little group that goes round together. If you have ever been to Shrek’s Adventure on the South Bank, the way of moving from room to room in a little group is very similar.
Another of the rooms you will visit is the hatchery, where you can see dinosaur eggs and learn a little about how dinosaur eggs hatch. You will even see a baby dinosaur hatch out!
If you do have children who are slightly younger, or a bit sensitive, then the room that may be a little upsetting for them is the autopsy room. My sensitive 6 year old was not bothered at all by it though! But that is probably because I had emphasised that it wasn’t real, so he took it in his stride. If you bring a dinosaur loving 4 year old and suddenly come into a room with a dead dinosaur… perhaps there is the possibility of them being upset. So be aware, and prepare them accordingly. For the adults and older kids though, I think this was a really cool addition to tour and again very realistic!
You see the large dinosaur being worked on, and there are cameras to show a closer view of the dinosaur internal organs too, as the Chronotex worker performs the autopsy to find out why this particular dinosaur had died.
There are a few more rooms along the tour, and then for the finale you get to go to the Look Out. This is another opportunity to use your safety glasses and see dinosaurs moving around in the wild outside your windows.
It’s a large room, with windows on all sides, and different scenes play out through each window. This was one of our favourite parts of the tour, and the kids and adults alike really enjoyed seeing what the dinosaurs were getting up to.
Throughout the tour, a few hints had been dropped all the way through that there was a bit more T-Rex activity today than expected. In the Look Out, you start to see T-Rexes outside the window, who go to eat another dinosaur. Then you see them attacking another one of the transport vehicles like the ones we came in at the start of the tour.
Soon enough, T-Rexes are surrounding the Look Out on all sides! Suddenly one of the Chronotex people will come in and say it’s not safe to go back the way we came, and you have to be evacuated via a safety tunnel.
If your young children do think it’s real, then there is a possibility of being scared of panicked, but mine were absolutely fine. You will get evacuated down some slightly dark tunnels (not pitch black at all and you can still see! and not too narrow at all) There is a bit during the evacuation that you see a dinosaur coming over head and all have to crouch down to hide and then soon enough you’re back to a time machine and manage to escape out to the gift shop!
We found the whole experience really cool, and my kids enjoyed it even more than I thought they would. My boys are 6 (nearly 7), 8 and 10 and the fact that it was very realistic made it more fun for them, and not too babyish. The adults all had a great time too. The experience is recommended for age 4 and upwards, which I would say is about right. We did bring our youngest too who is 1.5 years, but she basically just tagged along with us and pointed “dinosaur! dinosaur!” from time to time. Luckily, she does not scare easily so was absolutely fine. For any kids 4+ this would be a really cool and memorable experience to take part in and I’d definitely recommend it for a summer holiday day out.
As mentioned, the experience itself is around an hour and a half, so not a full day but it is near to the O2 (Where we parked, in car park 4 which is the nearest one and not busy on non O2 event days. Dinoaurs in the Wild is easily signposted with dinosaur footprints on the floor, so you can’t miss it). You can complete your day by having lunch in the O2, check out the free Sky activities in the O2, go on the emirates cable car, or explore other attractions nearby.
Dinosaurs in the Wild is only on until the end of this month, so it’s definitely worth visiting while you have the chance! The family ticket price on the door is £99 but I have seen offers of up to 40% off on apps like Picniq or Kidadl so do look around for offers to get the best price.
We were invited along to Dinosaurs in the Wild in order to review.