Unique show bites into Rexall Place



Marc Bence/metro edmonton


A Tyrannosaurus Rex is driven onto the main stage of Walking With Dinosaurs: The Live Experience, during a preview at Rexall Place yesterday. Many species of dinosaurs are in the show, and each one takes three people to animate.


Dinosaurs have been spotted in the City of Champions.

In fact, thousands of people at Rexall Place last night and on Wednesday witnessed what looked like real-life dinosaurs roaming the floors of Rexall Place.

With 15 life-sized dinosaurs in their collection that includes an Allosaurus, a Torosaurus and a Utahraptor, the hit touring show Walking with Dinosaurs: The Live Experience has now landed in Edmonton for its Canadian debut.

“This show is so unique in the fact there is no other show on the planet like this,” said Matthew McCoy, head of puppetry with the Walking With Dinosaurs show. “When I was a kid, I would see robot dinosaurs, but nothing even compares to this.”

During the media event yesterday, an enormous mechanical Tyrannosaurus Rex lumbered across the main floor, waving its puny arms.

And T-Rex sure looked hungry, as what looked like drool dripped from its teeth as it stared down at helpless reporters.

“If you look at the teeth of our Tyrannosaurus Rex, you will notice that they are actually cast into something that is very hard. That is why I don’t recommend putting your head in the T-Rex’s mouth when it’s moving,” McCoy said.

The life-like giant reptile moved about the floor thanks to two puppeteers on a stage called the Voodoo Lounge controlling its face, roar, hands, mouth, arms and spinal movements with giant joysticks.

Each dino has a driver either sitting in a small track below or within the body where he or she will control the creature’s direction and speed.

“Each of these dinosaurs has been built on years of research in every detail possible,” said McCoy, who is from Australia.

The Aussie-based, $20-million travelling show has 15 life-sized dinosaurs that are free roaming, free from strings, and with the help of their puppeteers, these prehistoric creatures are actually able to interact with audience laughter or applause.

The dinosaur show originated from a six-part television series on BBC that first aired in 1999. It’s listed in Guinness World Records as the most expensive documentary ever made per minute.

During their tour through the United States earlier this summer, the show’s puppeteers made appearances on NBC’s The Today Show and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Capital Ex goers can also expect to see other world-class entertainment in the next few years to come, says Northlands spokesperson Bonni Clark.

“When we first heard about this show, we really hunted after it — we were the dino hunters,” Clark said.

“To find an entertainment piece like this fits in with our mandate to provide a variety of world-class entertainment for Capital Ex.”

Don’t miss it

  • Dinosaur fans have four more chances to check out Walking With Dinosaurs: Today at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., as well as tomorrow at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.