Screams filled TPAC’s Polk Theater as school children witnessed dinosaurs come to life through Erth’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo! This traveling show from Australia has several life-like dinosaur puppets that move across the stage. This show interacts heavily with the audience and has everyone laughing and screaming with delight.
First up were a two baby dinos. The “handlers” were very careful to give you the sense that they were holding a real dinosaur baby, but in all actuality, it was their own hands and slight gestures of the arms that brought them to life. But, they were so good that their own movements were so different from that of what they gave the baby dino that it was like to separate entities. This part is a bit slow, and I found that my 2-and-a-half-year-old was getting a little bored.
Next up were two bigger dinosaurs. Their “handlers” had their hands on the heads and backs of the dinosaur puppets to make it look like they were petting them, when actually they were moving them around. The host is great at tossing in actual facts about dinosaurs here and there and she keeps the show alive and moving along.
The crowd goes wild when at long last, the much-anticipated arrival of the T-Rex hits the stage. The host asks for everyone to give a loud roar. This is super cute and quite funny. The lights go out and the crowd grows anxious … some even a little scared (like my little guy). THEN … the lights come on to the sound of T-Rex’s roar! The crowd screams with delight and excitement as T-Rex comes to life on stage. A person is inside the full body of the huge dino with only his legs appearing next to the dino’s. That puppeteer gives so much character to T-Rex that kids in the audience are awestruck. My son stood up and screamed, “WOW, it’s so awesome!”
Overall, the show is fantastic for kids!
After the show, stick around because your kids can go up on the stage to pet and “feed” the dinosaurs. Two public performances take place Saturday and Sunday. Details and a video clip are below.
Erth’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo
May 11 – 12 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Tickets are $15 – $25
Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC)