Expo Dino World
What: expo about dinosaurs and the archaeology behind finds
Where: Palais 2, Brussels Expo, Laeken, Belgium
When: May 20 – September 3 2017 (check the website for opening times though, as it’s not open every day until June 24)
Ticket price: varies, depending on the formula
Expo Dino World boasts to be the biggest dino expo on the planet, and whether this is actually true or not, it is definitely large enough to keep you entertained for a good while inside.
Truth be told though, as is always the case with this kind of expo, if you’re not into the subject, it’s not for you. So unless you are a parent that wants to take out their kids to a fun expo about dinosaurs, or a total dinosaur buff yourself, you may not really appreciate this.
You may wonder how this even merits a spot on The Gatehouse. Well, allow me to explain. Whilst most, not to mention all well known and most popular dinosaur species, such as the T-rex and triceratops, to mention but two, were native to North America, Belgium and the lower countries are quite well known for a few species themselves. Not just the infamous mosasaur and similar creatures, but our very own Bernissart mines found iguanodon. These finds have been proven invaluable, not only when it comes to the understanding about the iguanodon, but dinosaurs in this area full stop.
The starting room of the exposition, created together with the Natural History Museum of Belgium (KBIN) focusses solely on that, with a Victoriana replica of an archaeologist’s office, and large sketches, copies of originals back in the days, of finds.
So there’s a definitive element to this expo that befits this here site.
Now back onto the expo. Whilst if you love dinosaurs, it’s cool to see these 60+ animated versions, I can’t help but feel that these are much more impressive for kids than for adults. Obviously, the augmented reality animatronics ARE cool. But in the age of theme parks such as Disneyland Paris, I feel like expos are faced with an unfair disadvantage to what you see in places like that.
Kids, however, will find them very impressive, and it is thus a really good move of the expo to gear towards them. And especially the ranger program, where they can earn a stamp on a map at set points, which they can trade in for a special button badge, is a great touch that kids will simply adore. The back of the map is also filled with tons of fun quiz questions to keep them entertained, which is a nice addition to the fun.
There’s also a small, interactive kid’s zone at the end of the expo, right by the gift shop, where young and old can take fun photos and/or selfies (#expodinoworld) and have tons of other kinds of fun. There’s also a very practical seating area for those wanting to take a break, or for parents wanting to sit down whilst keeping track of their children in the kid’s zone.
Even for adults, wanting to find out a little more about the dinosaurs on display, there’s quite a few things to read. Every dinosaur comes accompanied by not only it’s statistics of where it was found, and how heavy and large it got, it also comes with archaeological background about when the first founds were made, by whom, where and how important they have been for our knowledge about dinosaurs today.
I personally thought this was most excellent, because you can like dinosaurs all you want, that’s generally not the kind of info you are presented with (well, the added history of the find that is).
Set-up wise, this is really well done. There’s a right balance between academics and plain and simple good times to make it interesting for both children and parents/adults that are really into dinosaurs, and let’s face it, what more can you want from an expo like this?
Handy tip: don’t throw away your entrance ticket, as it gives you a discount at several other expos and museums! This of course makes the expo even more value for ticket price.
Click here for more photos.