By Nikki Velarde, The Belton Journal
The Bell County Expo Center was packed over the weekend with the sound of roaring dinosaurs and throngs of children and their parents coming by to catch a glimpse and learn more about these prehistoric beasts.
Children and adults were able to Discover the Dinosaurs through eight different realistic scenes with animatronic and museum quality replicas. There were anywhere from one to three dinosaurs within each scene, including the well-known Tyrannosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Raptor, to more unknown disnosaurs such as the Deinonychus, Allosaurus, Apatosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus, and the recently discovered Kosmoceratops.
Beyond the exhibits, additional fun activities awaited. Kids and their parents enjoyed the experience of being a Jr. Paleontologist by brushing away the sand to reveal hidden fossils. Guests were able to watch educational and entertaining movies on their dino-sized screen in the Dino Theater.
Children lined up to have a chance to ride their choice of a Tyrannosaurus Rex or a Triceratops. Sitting atop the saddle on these animatronic dinosaurs made the perfect photo-op.
Guests also enjoyed the dinosaur themed inflatables to jump and play on, a scavenger hunt, mini golf, Dino coloring, face painting, and the Dino Den where even the youngest guests could ride and climb on the baby dinosaurs.
To include the numerous photo opportunities and the dinosaur gift shop, if you were interested in taking a little piece of history back home, the perfect place to stop was at the Gem and Fossil Panning are for some old-time prospecting. Guests shake and pan their mining rough through the water to reveal fossils and gems.
Seven year old Matthew Parrish was so excited after finding several shark teeth once he finished panning his mining rough. “My favorite part was checking out all the dinosaurs,” Matthew said. “Like the T-Rex, Triceratops, and Stegosaurus and then digging for fossils.”
“We were surprised at how many dinosaurs they had and learning about them,” said Matthew’s mom Karen Parrish. “He loves dinosaurs. It’s been a wonderful experience. It’s been the best part of his spring break.”
Five year old Braiden Reich said his favorite part was getting to be a paleontologist and digging up the fossils and that the T-Rex was his favorite dinosaur. “We came to this last year and wanted to come again this year,” said Braiden’s mom Jenna Hadbock. “He loves it.”
The goal of Discover the Dinosaurs is to create a fun environment of learning and activity that explores the wonderment and mystery of our pre-historic past.
“It’s all about the kids and their experience,” said staff worker Benjamin Risinger. “Sure, you can go to a museum and see replicas and dinosaur bones. But we give them faces, we give them attitudes and we bring them to life for kids and adults. It brings out the kid in everyone, including myself. We want their experience here to carry with them throughout the years.”