When I told Alfie and Elarna we were going to be time travelling back the Late Cretaceous period to see some actual, living dinosaurs there was lots of excitement and anticipation in the air. Alfie could barely contain himself, he absolutely loves anything to do with dinosaurs and dino related and when I showed him some videos of dinosaurs in the wild he was ridiculously excited, every day he was asking when we were going.
We made our way to London super early on Sunday morning, it doesn't take long for us on the train and both kids enjoy a train journey so it was all good. We arrived into Kings Cross and made a short tube journey to Greenwich Peninsula, near The 02 which is where the experience is situated. On arrival to this area it wasn't overly clear where we were supposed to be heading but we soon found a sign and followed the huge dino prints to get to where the time machine was waiting for us.
Before hopping on the time machine to whizz us back several millions of years ago we were very privileged to be given a talk from top UK palaeontologist Darren Naish he gave a very informative talk all about dinosaurs and more and I actually feel I learnt a bit, it was interesting. I would be more than happy for Alfie to follow in his footsteps when older. I also really liked to hear that Darren played a big part in the development of dinosaurs in the wild ensuring that things are kept factual and extremely realistic. It was a great way to start our experience.
After our rather fascinating talk from Darren we were then taken to begin our journey back through millions of year to TimeBase 67 where scientists are situated studying the dinosaurs from the past. Built by pioneering company Chronotex Enterprises this exhilarating experience is only possible by the cutting edge technologies by this company.
On entering the facility we were given some 3D glasses to enhance the experience, you are advised throughout when you should wear these. It's also worth mentioning that there are no toilet facilities while going around the experience so if you are taking little ones it's best to use the loo's beforehand.
Before stepping aboard the time machine we entered the Chronotex departure lounge where we met our tour guide, he was fab and made us feel very welcome. We had to watch a short safety video about our journey to Timebase 67 and how we needed to be aware of the dinosaurs and what we might encounter. At this time we were reminded that if we have seen a dinosaur they will have already seen us! We then entered onto the transfer pods to get to our destination......I didn't get any pictures of these as didn't want to spoil anything. While in these pods we were taking through some bumpy terrain to get to Timebase 67 and on the way we spotted some dinosaurs, we had our 3D glasses on at this point which just makes the experience awesome. Our fab tour guide also chatted to us throughout and pointed out everything that we were looking at.
Once you've entered the Time Base you are shown around by your guide. To begin with we learnt a bit more about the facility, the work it does and what you can experience while there.
We then entered the path lab which is packed full of awesome things to see and you can even get a bit hands on with some poo and examining things up close and personal. The Alamosauras heart is particularly impressive sitting in the middle of the room beating away, there is a button to press to see the effect of adrenaline on it (I think) and yes it was my son who kept pressing the red button to test it out.......typical! He also loved having a play with the poo (with gloves!), what kid isn't fascinated by faecal matter!
There is lots to see in this room, so much to take in, it's hard to look around it all on the time restraint that you seem to be on while going around. I would say that this is the only downside you are on limited time while going around, it's hard to take it all in as there seems to be only about 5 minutes or so in each area which is a bit of a shame. It doesn't take away from the experience and I understand that there is other groups being shown around after (the experience runs on time slots for this reason). However you may need to look around quickly if you want to take everything in.
After visiting the lab we were then taken through to watch a dinosaur autopsy. Nothing too graphic for the little ones just an interesting bit of anatomy and physiology, it was educational. No pictures to share of this I'm afraid but more of the pathology lab for you to check out.
Next on to the hatchery! This was a great room, three large incubators housing different species of dinosaur eggs, some very close to hatching. In fact while we were there we were super lucky that one hatched while we were there, a rather cute (well in appearance, snappy little thing it was!) Dakotaraptor!
Throughout the whole tour the attention to detail is phenomenal, we were blown away by this and the actors/staff brought the experience alive for us. There were times when I actually felt like this was real! It is like this throughout the whole time, so much fun!
Next it was on to the animal lab where the lab is divided into nocturnal and daytime areas. Mostly housing juveniles this area was fab, I fell in love with the little Triceratops......so flipping cute. They are all safely caged........or are they? Ha, well you'd have to have the tour to find out. Nothing jumps out, sorry to spoil the surprise but there is an element of the unknown which the actors/staff play out perfectly.
Finally it was on to the look out which is amazing, with 4 huge windows with breathtaking views out on to the it's here you get to appreciate all the dinosaurs that are roaming around. Here you get to spend a fair few minutes taking in the views with your 3d glasses on. It's also here that the actors/staff really come into their own. Now I don't want to take away from anything if you're planning on visiting so won't go into too much detail, but there is something that does happen in this area which potentially could frighten the younger children.
Elarna was a little bit clingy and Alfie a bit worried but overall it was brilliantly done and it did get us feeling a bit on edge! After we'd left the lookout we were escorted out of the experience to the merchandise area, as I said I don't want to give too much away but there is stuff that happens between leaving the lookout and making it to the merchandise area but if you want to find out I guess you'll just have to book tickets!
Of course landing in the merchandise area is a tough one as the kids did want to get something. The items aren't cheap to buy and we did treat Alfie to a rather cute T-rex cuddly toy (for £22.00 I would like to add!) and Elarna a small little Dakotaraptor soft toy (uber cute for £9.99), needless to say they carried around their toys for the rest of the day with no issues. We also purchased one of Darren Naish' new books which he kindly signed for Alfie, we discovered that we already have a few of his books so this was a good one to add to the collection.
It is absolutely fantastic and we enjoyed every single minute of it, we wouldn't hesitate visiting again and I've just heard today it is being extended into September now so plenty of time to visit. I really hope it becomes a permanent feature, however as there has clearly been alot of time, money and effort spent on this and it would be a real shame for it not continue. A few bullet points below with what we loved and what we were not so keen on.
What we loved:
- This is an immersive and fascinating, live action experience. It really is like being transported millions of years into the past.
- The whole experience is entertaining, interactive and enjoyable. Not only did we have fun but also felt we learnt from it too, so quite an educational experience also
- The attention to detail is incredible, they really have thought of everything from the realistic dinosaurs to the facilities that would be on something like Timebase67, each room has been cleverly thought out and there is so much to take in
- Only small groups at a time which means there is no risk of over crowding
- The staff/actors really make this come alive, they are fantastic and they have clearly learnt their stuff as they were able to answer questions and share knowledge about the dinosaurs while we went round
- The time restraints, of course I understand that there has to be timed slots but it would have been nice to have maybe a little while longer looking around the different areas
- The price of entry. We were very kindly provided free entry in exchange for this review but if we were to purchase a family of four ticket it would have set us back almost £100 which is fairly steep when you factor in travel costs, food and sight seeing if you desire, that being said myself and my husband have both said we would love to return again over the summer
- The place is quite hot, set inside what looks to be a warehouse or similar it is quite stuffy and they don't allow food and drinks into the experience itself which is something to be aware of, although I'm sure if a child needed to drink they wouldn't overly mind
- There are no toilets while going around so if you have a small child that needs to pee or poo urgently it is worth bearing in mind there is a possibility if not being able to rejoin the tour. Thankfully both mine were ok!
- Recommended age is for 5 years and over with any younger ones entering at the discretion of parents, Alfie thought it blooming brilliant and Elarna enjoyed it too, there was only a couple of moments when she wanted to be carried but as parents you will know if your child would enjoy it or not
Overall, we absolutely loved it and wouldn't hesitate returning again. If you have a dino fan or just want to go for the experience get yourself booked in as this experience currently is only running till the beginning of September, however I'm keeping everything crossed that it becomes permanent.
* Please note that we were kindly given free entry to Dinosaurs in the Wild in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own and I will always give an honest account.