For the first time since the pandemic begin, the grounds of Sunrise’s BB&T Center are humming with activity—of both the human and prehistoric variety. The sprawling parking lot, typically welcoming thousands of cars for Panthers games and arena concerts, is now a veritable Jurassic park, occupied by swimming liopleurodons, tail-swishing apatosauruses and roaring T-rexes.
These are among the 70 or so animatronic, engineered-to-scale dinosaur models constituting Jurassic Quest, a drive-thru safari running at the stadium through Dec. 20. I visited this COVID-compliant attraction last Friday morning for an opening-day media tour that turned out to be something of a work in progress: Animal handlers and other technical crew still scurried about the grounds in noisy industrial vehicles, occasional toppling the miniature cones that formed a too-nebulous pathway for cars to navigate the suburban safari. Not all of the dinosaurs functioned as they should have—a much-anticipated T-rex was frozen in place—and the restrooms and the drive-thru gift shop was still in some disarray, one hour before the public opening.
In other words, the show did not yet appear ready for guests, but you, dear reader, will likely encounter a much smoother journey into these lost worlds. The dinosaurs are indeed impressive, with jaws and appendages that move, eyelids that open and close, sounds emanating from embedded speakers, and scientifically accurate scales, feathers and fur covering their mechanical bodies. An accompanying digital audio tour, which motorists tune into through their smartphones, offers educational information about the dinosaurs, nifty music and sound effects, and even a narrative through-line to delight some of the younger passengers.
In the highlight reel below, you’ll see a handful of the several-dozen dinos on display; for tickets to Jurassic Quest, which run $49 per car, click here.