Dino-myte! New ViaPort exhibit aims to provide education, entertainment

The recently opened Via Dino Discovery exhibit at ViaPort mall in Rotterdam.

The recently opened Via Dino Discovery exhibit at ViaPort mall in Rotterdam.

Categories: Entertainment, Life & Arts

ROTTERDAM — A few noisy prehistoric creatures have taken up residence in Rotterdam’s ViaPort mall recently.

Some have nested, while others seem to be on the lookout for food, roaring as they go.

It’s all part of Via Dino Discovery, an animatronic dinosaur exhibition that recently opened.

“We were just looking at different ideas because everybody loves the aquarium so much. We wanted to bring in something else. So they came up with the idea of bringing in the dinosaurs,” said Ashley Watson, ViaPort’s marketing and public relations manager.

Working with a company called Dinoscapes, which creates exhibitions exploring extinction, ViaPort installed a dozen scenes with animatronic dinosaurs. Each scene features different dinosaurs, from the towering T-Rex to the swift-footed raptors, and each creature produces lifelike sounds.

According to Watson, many families with younger children have already visited the exhibit.

“ … Especially because kids are so big into dinosaurs, they love them. So a lot of the younger kids really enjoy it and think it’s so cool,” she said.

But for some children, the dinosaurs can be a bit intimidating.

“The dinosaurs are big. It’s for kids, but sometimes the kids get scared. It’s very rare. They usually get used to it once they realize that they’re fake,” Watson said.

Each scene in the exhibit is paired with informational signs about the featured dinosaurs, adding an educational element. A dig site is supposed to be part of the exhibit as well, though it’s off limits for now because of coronavirus concerns.

“We’ll have a lot more hands-on stuff once COVID is less of a threat and the restrictions start to loosen up a little bit. We want to try to make sure that everybody’s as safe as they can be, so we clean everything. We have hand-sanitizing stations and everybody has to wear a mask. So we’re definitely on top of it,” Watson said.

As many as 40 people can peruse the exhibit at a time to allow for social distancing. Tickets are $10 each (or free for those age 2 and under) and can be purchased at the door. They will soon be available to purchase online.

“It’s a lot of fun. Every family that’s been in there has been like, ‘This is amazing.’ All the kids are like, ‘Wow, that was so cool!’ So I’m hoping if the momentum continues, people continue to love it,” Watson said.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. For information, visit viadinodiscovery.com.

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