27 May 2017 – 7 Jan 2018
For more information on exhibitions at the Centre for Life, click here.
Review by Roisin Corbett.
First and foremost, the most important thing to note about ‘Dino Jaws’ is that it is an exhibition primarily aimed at children. The exhibition itself is an educational look at dinosaurs and the foods they ate.
The exhibition is made up of a mixture of animatronics, replica fossils, informational placards and interactive games or puzzles. The most spectacular of all of these has got to be the life-sized animatronic dinosaur heads, which greet you as you enter the exhibition. The heads are used to demonstrate the chewing motions of different types of dinosaur and are truly impressive to look at. Another excellent component of the exhibition was their use of interactive touch screen games, enabling children to ‘excavate’ a fossil of their own by tapping on a screen. As these components were engaging yet also educational, it was fantastic to see just how popular they proved to be amongst the children there.
The concept of exploring dinosaurs specifically in context of their food is a rather novel approach, and so gives the exhibition lots of room to be both educational and innovative. I was concerned that it would be no different to any other dinosaur exhibition – just rehashing the same information in a nominally different way – but in fact I was pleasantly surprised at its inventiveness.
However, the exhibition was a bit smaller than I expected it to be. According to the museum’s website, it should take about an hour to see the entire exhibition, but even with small children in tow I doubt it would take that long. I completely understand that the museum would not want to overcrowd their space by packing it too full. The animatronics were spectacular and it perhaps would have been nice to see more of them, especially given that they were easily the most popular aspect with the other museum-goers.
Additionally, whilst I understand that this exhibition is designed with children in mind, it might have been nice to include some things to engage parents or guardians as well. Everything within the exhibition was very specifically aimed at children, which would clearly be fun for them, but perhaps less so for the adults supervising them. The museum’s website claims that the exhibition is suitable for all ages, but I personally would say that whilst it may be suitable for everyone, it is really only catering to primary school aged children.
However, on the whole I do think that this is a good exhibition. As evidenced by the children I saw when I was there, the exhibition is an enjoyable blend of fun and education. On the whole I would say the exhibition would be a good day out for a child, and so I would recommend it to anyone with youngsters who need entertaining.