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Dinosaurs rule as prehistoric drive-thru exhibit stops in Tucson
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Dinosaurs rule as prehistoric drive-thru exhibit stops in Tucson

Add triceratopses, iguanodons and velociraptors to the list of creatures that you can find in Southern Arizona starting this Friday.

These prehistoric beasts, along with dozens of others, will be on display as part of the Jurassic Quest Drive Thru event taking place at the Pima County Fairgrounds, 11300 S. Houghton Road, through April 18.

The life-size dinosaurs, many of which have animatronic features, are part of a national touring show that was held at indoor venues across the country until the pandemic hit in March 2020.

The pivot to become an outdoor affair happened quickly, said spokesman Dustin Baker, who goes by the name “Dino Dustin” when in character for the exhibit.

“Some of our dinosaurs were already outdoor dinosaurs,” Baker said. “Venues couldn’t fit our apatosaurus. We shutdown in March, came up with the drive-thru idea and were back out again by June.”

The Jurassic Quest experience is not unlike the experience guests were treated to in the 1993 film, “Jurassic Park,” before the dinosaurs started eating everybody.

For $49 per vehicle, visitors drive along the exhibit’s collection of creatures with pre-recorded narration provided through YouTube or SoundCloud.

Guests can choose from several narrations, each with a different plotline, and with one entirely in Spanish. Participants will see dino favorites, like the triceratops and tyrannosaurus, but will also learn about scores of other dinosaurs they may have never heard of, including the bipedal coelophysis, the eocursor and the plateosaurus, which lived during the late Triassic period more than 200 million years ago.

“Most people only know maybe five dinosaurs off the top of their head and we have more than 70,” Baker said. “It is a good mix of education and entertainment.”

Jurassic Quest opens at 9 a.m. most days. Visit jurassicquest.com to buy tickets or for more information.

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at ggay@tucson.com.


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