If your kid knows the difference between the Triassic and Jurassic periods, or rattles off the names of dinosaurs you’ve never heard of (because, let’s be honest, they didn’t even have those dinosaurs when we were kids) with the authority of a museum curator, there’s a new exhibit in town you have to experience. Dinos Alive: Immersive Experience opened last weekend, and it’s the latest venture from Fever (of Immersive Van Gogh fame) to come through Seattle. It’s a full-sensory experience that transports kids through time, bringing them face to face with lifelike dinosaurs that are as captivating as they are exciting, especially for kids. Read on to find out what to expect, and how to make the most of this adventure when you visit.

See Larger-Than-Life Dinosaurs


Every Seattle kid knows the best places to see dinosaurs are at the Burke and PacSci. But that's about to change. For kids who are itching for a new dinosaur adventure, Dinos Alive: Immersive Experience is it. With over 80 animatronic prehistoric creatures on display, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more realistic experience in the city. The organizers have gone to great lengths to make this more than a chance to see dinosaurs move. They’ve worked hard to set the stage in this oversized warehouse. Mist spills out over the displays, and dinosaur roars echo through the halls even before you round the last turn into the exhibit.

Once inside the Dinos Alive exhibit a combo of little details help to deliver the full package. Birds call in the distance, lush greenery is everywhere and you can see projected waterfalls and other natural features off in the distance. As for the dinosaurs—their blinking eyes, moving tails and gnashing teeth are enough to convince your kids they’re standing in front of real live dinosaurs. Most of the exhibit is at kid height. So curious tots can get up close and check out the details that help bring these creatures to life in the modern world. It's a pretty big thrill, to say the least.

Learn While You Explore


Beyond the special effects, there are opportunities to learn too. Each dinosaur has its own special plaque explaining important facts and figures your kids will devour like a hungry T. rex. The name, family, weight, height and other stats are easy for kids to track as they walk from one hulking creature to the next. And the descriptions will help inform your visit and spark kids' interests in paleontology. Families can even download an app and scan QR codes to enhance your experience with your kid’s favorite accessory—a phone.

Who to Bring


Because there is a lot to learn and see, Dinos Alive works well for kids of all ages. Older kiddos can bone up on their dino facts and expand their knowledge as they make their way from the Hesperosaurus to the Spinosaurus to the Velociraptor. While toddlers and pre-schoolers will have fun following glow-in-the-dark footprints prints on the ground and marveling at the dinosaurs who seem so real to them. Fair warning: a few of these dinosaurs tower overhead, and they may overwhelm little kids. Plus, their grunts, growls and roars rival any fierce lion or tiger you see at Woodland Park Zoo.

Explore the Playland


After you’ve seen the dinosaurs and tossed balls in the virtual aquarium, it’s time to play. Kids will find four interactive stations here where they can play paleontologist. Dig for fossilized bones in the sandboxes or race against dinosaurs on the track. These two exhibits are great for kids of any age. Kids can also sit and color their favorite dinosaur from the exhibit at the art table. There’s lots of room here to spread out, and when they’re finished, kids can project their masterpiece onto the screen for everyone to enjoy. But our favorite find here (we think your kids will love it too) is the chance to ride a dinosaur. Kids who are feeling extra brave can climb atop one of the animatronic dinosaurs for the ride of a lifetime. As fierce as they seem, it's a pretty gentle—but totally thrilling—ride.

Tame a Dinosaur


Just before you hit the gift shop at the end of the experience, you'll have a chance to interact with a dinosaur in virtual reality. Headsets and joysticks line the wall, and staff members are available to help get you started with this simple game. Once the headset is on, you'll be transported to an island where you get to keep a dino as a pet...sort of. A cute and innocuous game, it works like this: you throw a bone to a trained dino who fetches it and returns it to you, just like Fido would. It's a great option for older kids who want to give VR a try. It's not recommended for kids under six. If you've purchased the VIP experience, this activity is included. But you can also add it on for just $5 when you get there. 

Hours: Mon., Wed. & Thu., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fri., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Cost: $27/person (weekdays); $31/person (weekends); $37/person (VIP, weekdays); $43/person (weekends, VIP); $22-$31/person (Family bundle, weekdays); $25-$35/person (Family bundle, weekends)

1750 Occidental Ave. S.
Seattle, WA
Online: dinosaliveexhibit.com/seattle


All images courtesy the writer

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