This is one of those “If it’s popular in Beijing and it’s non-political, it will eventually make it to Taipei in some form” amusement events along the lines of the World Chocolate Wonderland show a couple years ago. Like that one, clever and consistent marketing to kids meant that the first sunny Saturday my kids were pushing me out the door. Well, after my wife voted. Dinosaurs are cool, but they don’t trump democracy, especially in a country that is only on it’s fourth multi-party elections.
So once my wife executed her right to choose we all hopped in a taxi and headed to the Songshan Culture & Creative Park. Due to all the Taipei Dome construction, there was no way to enter the park from either main street (Songshan Culture park is located next to the old cigarette factory complex on Guang Fu South Road and Chungsiao East Road), we eventually found an entrance after a U-turn and turn into an alley.
The indoor exhibition is really cool. All the dinosaurs are animatronic and have well-crafted, detailed rubber skins. Each animatronic animal is set into it’s own environment complete with detailed geology and flora. I was really impressed by the lighting design which helped convey a very ‘primordial’ atmosphere. There was some sound elements too, but the din of the crowd rendered them unintelligible beyond the occasional roar.
As there was no attempt at internationalization of the exhibition, I’m assuming that they don’t anticipate many non-Taiwanese visitors. Or young K-3 aged visitors since all the exhibit labels were Traditional Chinese, Mandarin-only with no English or “bo-mo-po-fo”. My children being first-graders and unable to read more then a few dozen characters, I would have appreciated at least the dinosaur names being labelled phonetically in bopomofo alongside their name in Chinese characters as they do at the Taipei Zoo. My final criticism isn’t really a criticism but a warning to those with mobility issues, of which I am one. Much of the area surrounding the indoor exhibition and the pathway that winds through the park itself is made up of unevenly-spaced cobblestone of widely-varying heights.
But here’s the important question: What did my boys think?
They gave it “Two Roars Up”.
Here’s a quickly thrown-together video of Dinosaurs Dream Park. Forgive the poor editing and cheesy soundtrack. For HD, watch the video directly on YouTube.
The Dinosaurs Dream Park Exhibit is open 7 days a week from 9AM-6PM and will be in Taipei until March.