Very disappointing outing to the Dino Expo

Our son JW loves dinosaurs and after reading about the Dino Expo on Facebook we knew we want to visit.  As soon as the early bird tickets opened we bought out tickets.  (R100 per adult & R80 per kid for early bird tickets). Even Grandma and Grandpa was excited and decided to join us for the outing. After waiting for about a month it was finally time for the Dino Expo at the Train Museum in George on Saturday 4 November 2017.

The following is a extract of the description of the Dino Expo from their facebook page:
“The Dino Expo is a mesmerizing, not-to-be-missed exhibition of realistic, life size, accurate to science animatronic dinosaurs that capture the imagination with their life-like demeanor and movement. They will ‘prehistorify’ the senses with their life-like legendary roaring sounds that electrify the environs and inspire adrenaline filled excitement.
Get lost in this phenomenally realistic artistically landscaped captivating forest with natural trees canopying a misty pathway. Gracefully meander through a colourfully and magically lit, fog-infused wonderland. This prehistoric jungle setting is gifted with natural shrubs and bushes, prehistoric plants, beautiful rocks and sparkling waterfalls. This is affectionately referred to as ‘the Jurassic tour’. It is a breathtaking and awe-inspiring experience that heightens the emotions and intimately indulges the senses; sight, sound, smell, feeling. See the Jurassic, hear the prehistoric, smell the jungle, feel the wonder. It is a mystifying environment ideal for people from diverse culture and walks of life across all age ranges.

The Expo had a few problems with their arrangements.  The venue was changed after a few weeks.  I think the first venue was too small.  Then something went wrong with the travel arrangements and the expo arrived a day late in George.  The first day of the expo was cancelled and another day was added at the end.

Now I have to say my son loved the expo.  He enjoyed the dinosaurs and loved the rides.  And while the day was for him... and I am glad he had a great outing... I was very disappointed.

Accept for the fact that my son enjoyed the outing there is not really anything positive to say about our experience of the expo:

  • We had tickets for the first show at 10:00 on Saturday.  We arrived at about 9:30 and then waited.  We stood and wait for about an hour before they opened at about 10:30.  No reason was given for the delay.  Hundreds of people stood in the row and did not know what was happening. Organisers stood drinking coffee and nobody could just take the time to walk to us and let us know why things are running late or what was happening.
Definitely not “mesmerizing”
  • The expo was definitely not “mesmerizing”.  The “forest” was a few potted plants between the dinosaurs.  There was obviously a problem with the electricity and lighting and it was not “colourfully and magically lit”.  In fact the lighting was poor.  So poor we could not take decant photos with the dinosaurs.  The T-Rex head had no lighting at all and could not be seen. We love taking photos and it was a big reason for attending the expo and we were very dissapointed.
  • The advertising via the photos on facebook was also false.  On the photos on the website and facebook people stand next to the dinosaurs and even touch them.  But in George we had to walk behind ropes.
The closest we could get to the dino's
  • The activities that were supposed to be included in the ticket price was not there.  There was no “Fossil digging” and the “coloring” was a small table with a few pieces of paper on it.  When we were leaving at about 11:30 they started to set up the jumping castle.  The photo corner was also not nearly as pretty as advertised and we decided to skip it.  
  • All the activities were squashed into a small area. The rides and the rows to buy tickets and snacks was a mess. (And the rides were very expensive)
  • And the control over money was shocking.  We had to buy a tickets for the rides and the money was just pushed into a plastic shopping bag with no control. The auditor in me was just seeing money disappearing.

A lot of my work colleagues also took their kids and all of them were also disappointed. 

I saw photos of the expo on Sunday and it looked a lot better than what we saw on Saturday. The lighting was better and there was a sandpit for fossil digging.  It seems that they were not ready for the expo on Saturday. 

I feel we were cheated. We paid the full fee but the expo was not ready on Saturday and we did not get what was promised on the website.

The expo has a lot of potential but the organising was terrible. The staff were terrible and were no help.  

It felt like they just wanted our money and did not care if we enjoyed it or not.

He loved the rides.  They were very expensive, but look at the smile.


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