Dinosaurs In The Wild, London

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In a nutshell

Love dinosaurs? This experience brings them to life using 3D screens, puppetry and animatronics to transport the whole family on a safari. The exhibition runs in London until 2 September 2018

  • Pros

    An unusual and engaging dino-themed experience, lots of fun

  • Cons

    Immersive rather than interactive, very pricey for the short time you’re there

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Our review

When we visited:

We visited in late July 2018, at the end of the day, when it was pretty quiet

What age is Dinosaurs In The Wild best for:

Best for: ages 5-10, when they’re passionate about dinosaurs and not too cynical to get into the spirit of things

Still good fun for: children aged 11-16 years old who would get into the spirit with younger siblings (we’re 45 and 46 and we enjoyed it too)

Avoid if: your teens think everything apart from the shopping mall is “lame”. Under 2s are free, but parental discretion is suggested for all younger children

How much does it cost in 2018?

Gate prices: £29.50 for adults, £26 for children

Family tickets: Family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children) is £95

It’s certainly not cheap, especially for the length of time you’ll spend there. But for an unusual, 70-minute family experience, we felt the price was fair. The time did whizz by though - it was a bit like going to a really good movie.

Are there discounts or cheap tickets available for Dinosaurs In The Wild?

Yes, at time of publishing, you can get up to 40% off tickets at Picniq.

What does Dinosaurs In The Wild offer for families?

Dinosaurs In The Wild is an immersive family experience that transports you back 67 million years to the Cretaceous period. You’ll go on a safari, using 3D screens, puppetry and animatronics as well as dramatic sets and actors. It’s not hugely interactive - you don’t solve puzzles or find clues - but you certainly don’t sit still for long.

Anyone who’s seen Jurassic Park knows that the safari is bound to go wrong. With no spoilers intended, once you’ve seen the escape pods you know you’re going to need to use them later.

Is it a good learning opportunity?

Before all the drama, you will experience other rooms where you learn a bit about dinosaur biology and meet them close-up, from hatchlings to bigger beasts and even watch a (non-gory) dinosaur autopsy.

Us mums thought there could have been a bit more learning in there, but the children were captivated, even the more cynical older ones. They all knew it wasn’t real, but that didn’t stop them getting into the spirit.

Rooms had displays and activities on every wall and surface, so there was always stuff for little hands to fiddle with. The dinosaur poo was popular!

Is it scary for younger children?

No-one on our visit got upset, but there are a few vivid or dramatic scenes that younger, or more sensitive children, could struggle with. There was an “autopsy” of a large dinosaur but it wasn’t gory at all. There was the drama of being under attack and rushing into escape pods too. If you or your children are claustrophobic, be aware some parts are like being in a large lift or a shuttle bus. There aren’t many tunnels.

What you need to know before you go:

  • There are no loos once you’re in there, and leaving the experience theoretically means not returning
  • But, the organisers say that in the unusual situation that a child is struggling and needs a breather, they will bend over backwards to get the family back in again. This is music to our ears – having previously left an immersive family theatre show prematurely and not been allowed back in
  • You can’t take pushchairs inside due space restrictions, unless they’re required for children with accessibility needs. But you can fold them up to be checked into the cloakroom

What are the facilities at Dinosaurs In The Wild like?

  • The cafe kiosk is minimal but you’re a short walk from the O2 (you pretty much pass it on your way to and from the tube) which is packed with restaurants. And you pass a Tesco Express for cheap drinks and snacks
  • There’s a free cloakroom for larger bags
  • There are no loos inside, so encourage your kids to go beforehand
  • The experience is wheelchair accessible, with two wheelchair user spaces in each time slot. See the Dinosaurs In The Wild website FAQs for how to book for larger parties, complimentary carer tickets and more

Opening dates and times:

Dinosaurs In The Wild is a temporary exhibition, open every day (expect Tuesday) from 10-12:30 and 2-5, until 2 September 2018. There are no announcements yet, but it may tour elsewhere - keep an eye on the website for details.

Best time to visit:

It depends on your preferences. We booked a slot near the end of the day, when it was pretty quiet. This made for small groups – so we got better seats but perhaps a bit less mass hysteria (i.e. exciting atmosphere) when things got dramatic.

How to get to Dinosaurs In The Wild:

  • Dinosaurs In The Wild is located on West Parkside of London’s Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0BE, near to the O2
  • It is a 10-minute walk from North Greenwich station (Jubilee Line), although allow plenty of extra time if you are herding younger children along so there’s no stress
  • As you come out of the station facing the O2, it’s initially hard to spot the Dinosaurs In The Wild signs so follow the signs to the Emirates Airline cable car and then look out for big yellow dinosaur footprints on a path to your right
  • Allow a good 90 minutes for the 70-minute experience because there are a couple of bonus interactive bits and bobs after you get out. And of course a gift shop

MFM verdict: 

A must for dinosaur lovers and fun for others too. Our children, aged 8-11, enjoyed it and happily played along with the story. Younger children would enjoy too - it's not too scary or vivid - but we worry more cynical teens might be unimpressed unless they're getting into the spirit for younger siblings. We'd have liked a bit more interactivity and learning but it certainly immersed us in the action. 

Intro to me:

I’m one half of a couple (two mums) with four children (two girls, two boys) aged 8, 9, 10 and 11

Visit the Dinosaurs In The Wild website

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