Dinosaurs roar seems real as they reign in Rose Garden habitat

by: Courtesy photo, An adult and young brachiosaurus roam the floor of the Rose Garden as part of the Walking with Dinosaurs show.

What would you do with $20 million?

While creating a show with realistic dinosaurs may not be on the top of your list, others have grasped on to the world's fascination with pre-historic beasts. For $32 Portland can experience life during the land before time this week only.

'Walking with Dinosaurs: The Live Experience' features 15 dinosaurs and is based on the award-winning BBC television series and brought to live by Immersion Edutainment. The $20 million arena show is storming North America after 10 sold-out weeks in five Australian cities last year.

The show is on display at the Rose Garden in Portland and audience members at Wednesday night's first showing gave the event a rumbling applause.

Some dinosaurs weighing as much as a family car are operated using a team of three people - one driver, someone to operate the head and tail motions and another to move the mouth, blink the eyes and roar.

Raining in the Rose Garden

Starting with an egg and ending with an asteroid or comet striking earth in the Gulf of Mexico, the roughly two-hour show depicts dinosaurs' evolution during their 200 million-year reign. Continents split, an arid desert from the Triassic period evolves into the green prairies of Jurassic times. Later, oceans form, flowers bloom, volcanoes erupt and a mother T-Rex protects her young.

Lights and sound transform the Portland Trail Blazer's court into unfamiliar terrain. At one point the entire floor of the Rose Garden seemed be engulfed in rain, and Oregonians didn't blink an eye.

Huxley - the human tour guide - informed that the premise for the show dates back to B.P.A., Before Paul Allen.

I learned that a flying ornithocheirus, with a maximum wing-span of 40 feet, is the largest creature to ever fly; the audience watched it soar over oceans in search of food.

The stegosaurus roams into view to reveal glowing red plates on its back when angered or in fear.

But it was when an adult brachiosaurs - standing 36 feet tall and 56 feet long - entered the room that the entire Rose Garden audience gasped.

And later a 23-foot-tall and 42-foot-long Tyrannosaurus Rex protected her baby from predators and the snow cone in the children's hands seated behind me started to melt. They didn't move a muscle, just staring at the magnitude of the beasts.

Close, personal view

The show teaches about the first birds and mammals that evolved over this period.

The show is educational, entertaining and exciting.

Unless you plan on becoming a paleontologist with a time machine, how often are you going to witness real dinosaurs up close and personal? No zipper in the back of the costume; no silly human voices - just a well, thought out and delivered production.

Portlanders welcomed 'Walking with Dinosaurs' with open arms, after all, they were here first, weren't they?

For more information, visit the Web site at www.dinosaurlive.com .