Saturday 30 June 2012

Sea World - Dinosaur Island

Just opened for the school holidays at Sea World on the Gold Coast is a new attraction called Dinosaur Island. What do dinosaurs have to do with the sea I hear you ask? Don't ask questions! Just focus on the fact it fits the Sea World naming convention; animal name then type of place (e.g Dolphin Cove, Shark Bay, Penguin Point, Polar Bear Shores, etc.).

Unlike most of Sea World's attractions, the animals in question aren't exactly alive. So this time, we have (vaguely) life-size animatronic Dinosaur "roaming" an indoor discovery centre and an outdoor island. The animations are triggered by passing traffic in most cases, and some of them have timed audio effects. With added smoke effects, a few fountains and some greenery to help sell the reality. Overall it's not bad. They've clearly tried hard with this attraction, but there are still things that could be better.

The star of this attraction without a doubt is the gigantic T-Rex next to the gate to the area. It does look fantastic. I even saw it scare a small child! Isn't that what going to a theme park is all about?

Since it's raining, lets head into the Dinosaur Discovery Centre:

Inside is a nicely layed out two-level display with some interesting moving animatronics. The focus of the inside section was more educational, although the main point seemed to be that lots of dinosaurs had feathers. But they really just looked kind of hairy, and a little bit wierd to be honest.
Is it a bird, a dinosaur or a sloth?

A furry baby T-Rex.

A Velociraptor that I suspect may be wearing a toupee.

No, that's entirely natural.

This little fella was cute though.

Let's head out to the actual island. For the avoidance of doubt when they say island, they don't really mean island. I guess since Polar Bear Shores isn't really a shore, and Penguin Point doesn't have a point; it's not that important. You will notice a few things on Dinosaur Island that may take you out of the moment. For instance, the Lighthouse which has been a part of Sea World for many years. It doesn't detract from the attraction greatly, but it's just enough to give a sharp eyed person a few giggles. As I said before, the star of the attraction is the T-Rex, who is right at the gate. For those that know Sea World, the path leads from the main path before the dolphins out to the lighthouse and back into the kids area at the back of the Dockside Tavern. Let's take a look:

The prehistoric Lighthouse on Dinosaur Island.

Who's a pretty boy?

I'd be worried if I lived in Bikini Bottom!

T-Rex has the best movement, design and sound effects of all the Dinosaurs. I really enjoyed the way his tail was whipping around. He really is the star of the show!

To be honext after the T-Rex, things started to get a little wierd.

It's just things didn't quite look right.

Like when someone's head is far too small for their body.

Or when a dinosaur is roaming in front of a pirate ship. Hey, that gives me an idea for a sitcom.

I liked the trike, but I think his sound effect should have been "Heeeeyyyyy!".

If what you wanted was Dinosaurs at Sea World, this attraction certainly gives you that. The biggest problem that I found was that it was definitely a temporary attraction. Some stuff was very well done certainly, others was just added to soak up some space. In general I enjoyed it, but I couldn't help feeling that this would have been great if it was part of a bigger attraction. If that T-Rex stood outside a dinosaur themed ride, it would be awesome! As it stands the attraction peaks far too early, and interest is mostly lost by the end. Dinosaur Island (nee Peninsula) adds something new to a park that has remained fairly stagnant for the past year or two which is a positive thing. I'd rate Dinosaur Island a 6.5/10.

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