Stone Mountain Park announced its next big (very big) attraction — Dinosaur Explore, which is set to open next month and run through the 2017 season.
Dinosaur Explore, opening March 30, will feature 20 dinosaurs representing 14 species, T. rex meet-and-greets, baby dinosaur interactions and a dino dig play area. There will also be an all-new indoor experience: Dinotorium. Admission to Dinosaur Explore is included with any paid daily Adventure Pass or yearly membership. (See box for more information on admission prices.) The dinosaur attraction is scheduled to remain at Stone Mountain Park through the year with the park not yet decided on whether to keep the dinosaur display as a longer term attraction.
The attraction is designed to give visitors a chance to explore the mystery of prehistoric life many, many years ago. Stone Mountain was created by an upwelling of magma from the Earth’s crust roughly 300 million to 250 million years ago. Dinosaurs arrived a little later, between 230 million and 65 million years ago. While much of the surrounding region was water, Georgia is known to have been the home of several coastal species of dinosaurs, including Hadrosaurs, commonly known as duck-billed dinosaurs.
Inside the Dinotorium, guests can interact with dino rangers, learn about different dinosaur habitats, visit the Dino Nursery, feed baby dinosaurs and play games. Kids are invited to join in the learning fun by becoming junior dino rangers.
The prehistoric creature collection will be located behind the Dinotorium on wooded trails where families can check out giant dinosaurs that move and roar just like their ancient ancestors. The exhibition includes favorites like the king of the dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex, and a gentle, plant-eating Brachiosaurus that towers overhead nearly two stories tall. The collection also includes a three-horned Triceratops, a ferocious Allosaurus, and a winged Pteranodon.
The dinosaurs range in height from just a few feet to a Brachiosaurus that is 19 feet, 8 inches high. For reference, that’s roughly a quarter the size of what would have been a full grown “real” and gigantic Brachiosaurus, which stretched as long as 80 or even 85 feet.
RELATED VIDEO: Watch a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at Stone Mountain Park’s dinosaurs
The dinosaurs are made out of a rubberlike compound and include robotics that bring them to life. As park guests approach one of these dinosaurs, electronic sensors activate movement and sounds. Each model can move various body parts and make dinosaur sounds and even growls unique to its species.
The attraction is located in the Crossroads section of the park near the Crossroads parking lot. Guests can enter on paths from the Crossroads main entrance a few hundred feet away or from the laser lawn area.
The old barn structure, which used to house a farm exhibit, will now be full of dino games and activities.
Also making its debut at the park March 30 is the lovable herd from “Ice Age” in the new “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs 4D Experience.” Sid, Manny, Diego and the rest of the crew embark on an action-packed adventure when they discover a lost world of dinosaurs.
10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays-Fridays; 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays. Open daily during spring break (week of April 3): 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Cost (included with a daily Adventure Pass): $31.95 for adults; $26.95 for children. Annual passes available. Stone Mountain Park, 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. 1-800-401-2407, www.stonemountainpark.com.