Jurassic Quest lets families walk through the past March 1-3

Jurassic Quest lets families walk through the past March 1-3

Marty Hoffman just might have scored the dinosaur discovery of a lifetime. He found a career hanging out with Triceratops, T. rex and friends, sharing his passion for the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods and providing 4-1-1 answers to other “dinosaur enthusiasts.”

He also created one of the five human characters in Jurassic Quest, which claims to be the nation’s largest dinosaur experience. The immersive exhibition — complete with roaring dinosaurs, rideable dinosaurs, dinosaur shows, a fossil dig, real fossils, bounce houses and more — is stopping March 1-3 at the Rogers Convention Center.

Founded in Texas in 2013 and with more than 10 million visitors since then, Jurassic Quest was created with the input of paleontologists to get each dinosaur right from his teeth to his texture, fur or feathers.

Park Ranger Marty was the first official Jurassic Quest human character, Hoffman says, then explains he’s not really a character but a dino educator. It all started with his childhood as a “dino nerd,” he says, which led him to take his 7-year-old son to a Jurassic Quest show years later. Curious after their visit, he searched for job openings, got hired, and developed his niche in “edutainment.” Park Ranger Marty — with Hoffman’s nod to his inspiration, “Bill Nye the Science Guy” — was born.

Back then, in 2016, Jurassic Quest had one show that traveled in six trucks. Now, Hoffman says, there are three separate shows touring the U.S. and Canada, each requiring more than twice as many trucks. The version stopping in Rogers has more hands-on activities than ever before, an expanded Excavation Station and more Jurassic-themed rides and inflatables, along with new animatronic fan favorites like the Utahraptor and Giganotosaurus.

Also new is “The Quest,” a self-guided scavenger hunt style activity where budding paleontologists can become junior dinosaur trainers, and a new video tour featuring Park Ranger Marty and his colleagues available onsite and on your phone via QR code.

Baby dinosaurs Cammie the Camarasaurus, Tyson the T. rex and Trixie the Triceratops are be seen up close, while their parents are displayed in scenes from their moments in the Mesozoic Era. The biggest is a full-sized T-Rex, about 42 feet long, who would have in real life weighed around 9 tons.

“We really pride ourselves for not only being entertaining but educational,” Hoffman says, explaining that his primary job has become the dino 4-1-1 text line — 844-DINO-411 — where he answers texted questions from fans young and old. Dinosaur facts change constantly, he says, and Jurassic Quest wants to get them right.

Whether he’s on site with a tour or making YouTube content or studying the latest in dinosaur discoveries, Hoffman says he is living his “best 8-year-old life.”

“When you’re a little kid, dinosaurs are pretty much just dragons that really existed at one time,” he says. “Kids always like big things — trains, construction equipment, elephants, whales — and dinosaurs. And dinosaurs are a gateway science — because when you learn about them, you’re also learning about geology and biology and astronomy.”

But in the end, “nothing is better than seeing a kid see their first dinosaur.”



Jurassic Quest

WHEN — Noon-8 p.m. March 1; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. March 2; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 3

WHERE — Rogers Convention Center, 3303 S. Pinnacle Hills Parkway in Rogers

COST — $20-$37

INFO — jurassicquest.com



But There’s More!

Even when the dino herd moves on, Jurassic Quest leaves virtual resources behind:

• Join the Jurassic Quest dino trainers as they celebrate Dino Day, Fossil Day and more “dino-tastic” days with activities such as dino story time, show & tell, fossil lessons and more on YouTube at JurassicQuestEvents.

• Families also can access craft activities, word searches, coloring pages and more for free at jurassicquest.com/online-fun.

• Or visit the extensive Jurassic Quest dino directory at jurassicquest.com/dinodirectory.

• And the Jurassic Quest theme song on YouTube is newly remastered with captions so families can sing along!

Categories: Cover Story