Jurassic World: “An Adventure 65 Million Years in the Making”
by Gabriel Vara
Dinosaurs have come back to life, thanks to the Jurassic Park exhibition at the Field Museum. The displays of real dinosaur fossils immerse audiences of all ages in scenes inspired by the beloved film. Upon arrival at the museum, visitors trek to the ground level and through a long tent corridor to reach the exhibit. In order to go to the “island,” groups wait in a pretend boat and are given an overview of the park by the Senior Ranger. After leaving the boat, visitors walk through the iconic Jurassic World gates, decorated with torches. A short walk away from the gates is a Brontosaurus, looming inches away from the crowd. The audience is assured that the massive herbivore is no threat. Across the room, there is a Parasaurolophus between two bushes, eyeing the crowd.
At the “Gentle Giants” petting zoo, the Senior Ranger announced that the petting zoo was unfortunately closed that day, but visitors could still observe the gigantic Triceratops and her baby bonding. A food dispenser, holding gigantic chunks of Triceratops food, sat unused in the corner of the room, and a “Please Respect the Creatures” sign hung from the fence. The baby Triceratops behind the sign seemed startled and frequently glanced at its mother. The next room was the engineering lab, where scientists extract dinosaur DNA from ancient mosquitos trapped in amber. One wall is covered with beautiful amber on clean white shelves, but the centerpieces of the room are two heat tanks that had actually been used in the film “Jurassic World.” One displays huge dinosaur eggs, and the other houses baby dinosaurs, freshly hatched and barely moving. After this, visitors are led into a dim, caged room by a ranger, where they get the chance to observe a free roaming Velociraptor. The raptor paced back and forth in front of the crowd, and snapped at a child nearby posing for a picture. It gave a high pitched roar, biting at the audience behind its thick bars before being called back by the disembodied voice of Chris Pratt.
The next stop was the most anticipated: the Tyrannosaurus Rex enclosure. After being assured that the enclosure was completely safe, a large steel door was raised, illuminated by flashing hazard lights. In the room is a lone truck, barred off with an electrified fence. A goat stands trembling in a cage on the bed of the truck. Then, a T-Rex stalked over to the truck and began to push it, almost tipping it entirely. It reared its head and let out a ground shaking roar and backed up as the room began to dim. The next stop was the open field, where a school-bus-sized Stegosaurus eyed the visitors. The well lit room allowed viewers to see the small details of the dinosaurs’ leatherlike-like skin and textured spikes. A nearby terminal alerted tourists that a dangerous experiment had gotten loose, and advised people to seek immediate shelter. Hiding in a hollowed-out tree, a red-eyed, horned dinosaur peered out from behind a group of trees, seeking out prey. It roared at people nearby before retreating. The final room was a child-friendly display of dinosaur fossils and miniature dig sites to find dinosaur toys, as well as interactive diagrams. Instead of taking a boat back to the Field Museum, visitors exit through a gift shop. At the price of $15 for a CPS student, the Jurassic Park Exhibition is a fun balance between the film’s style and the museum’s substance.