The 2012 season marks not only Dorney Park's 128th, but also one that celebrates history by going back - way back - to prehistoric times with the addition of Dinosaurs Alive! and the scorpion-themed Stinger roller coaster.
Both attractions are new to Dorney Park, and really cover the spectrum of park visitors; Dinosaurs Alive! is great for families and educational groups, and Stinger most certainly gives thrill seekers what they need!
To kick of the festivities, Dorney Park Vice President and General Manager Jason McClure welcomed guests and thanked the many contractors, partners, employees and other folks that help run the park and create new attractions like those for 2012. He also assured the crowd that "it never rains at Dorney Park," which was quite true of today, when the forecast called for rain, yet the skies were blue.
Not sure how Dorney pulled that one off, but great work! At that point it was time to open, as Mr. McClure put it, "the star of the day" Dinosaurs Alive!
South Whitehall Township Manager John Hammer and Nancy Brenner of Dinosaurs Unearthed had the privilege of cutting the ceremonial rope and officially opening Dinosaurs Alive! at Dorney Park.
So what is Dinosaurs Alive!, really? Well, by the numbers the attraction sits on 3 acres and features 32 different life-size animated dinosaurs that replicate nearly every feature of the extinct creatures. The path which heads through the attraction passes six different scenes and nine thematic exhibits.
The entrance to Dinosaurs Alive! has made the Steel Force plaza quite different than in previous years, greeting guests as they walk toward the entrance. The attraction has an additional cost of $5 per person, but since you are free to stroll around the wooded pathways at your leisure guests are really able to get their money's worth.
Multiple sound effects along the path add to the atmosphere - and they're not just in the scenes you pass, they're also hidden deep in the woods.
There are plenty of tongue-in-cheek signs along the way, a great example of which is above. Also seen is the Ruyang Yellow River dinosaur, the largest of the bunch, which stretches 72 feet long and stands an impressive 30 feet high.
The lifelike dinosaurs are complimented by the surrounding woods, but also by plenty of signage which explains what visitors are seeing. The educational component is strong as many facts and stories about dinosaurs are presented along the way.
The educational factor of the attraction is something that serves school groups really well. One was in attendance at the preview today, and it would be an understatement to simply call them excited. They were ecstatic while moving along the path, as each new turn presented another display full of surprises.
Plenty of the scenes elicit excitement from guests as they show interactions between dinosaurs that range from friendly encounters to those that are not so friendly. These include sections like the Predator Trap and Pack Attack, which illustrate and educate on how some of the dinosaurs met their end.
For instance, it's not a smart move to get stuck in the mud.
If you do, you're really just a snack waiting to happen!
... quite possibly from this guy! The variety of different dinosaurs that are featured in the attraction is really wonderful.
Other dinosaurs used a more traditional way of taking each other down. This guy must have quite a pain in his back!
Another neat feature of Dinosaurs Alive! is that guests are able to stop by certain animated figures and use a control panel to make the creature move as they wish. This interactive aspect to the attraction adds yet another layer of fun.
In addition to a replica of a dig site that's featured halfway through the journey, little ones can practice skills at a paleontological dig site, complete with buried dinosaur bones.
After the trek is complete anyone with a hankering for a dino to take home will most definitely want to stop by the Dinostore, a new 1,800 foot structure built at the exit to Dinosaurs Alive. Just about everything you can think of, and probably a lot more, that is related to dinosaurs is available here.
I have to say that I think Dinosaurs Alive! is going to be a hit with families. Similar attractions are opening at several other Cedar Fair parks this year after the success of the attraction last year at Kings Island. The slower pace and educational aspect are a nice treat in what can be a busy and thrilling day at an amusement park.
Here is a short video showing off just some of the scenes in the attraction:
Dinosaurs Alive! will open with Dorney Park this Saturday, April 28th. Our second half of the media day at Dorney Park is coming (quite) soon, when we take a look at Stinger!