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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

T-rex to stomp Main Gate Square

Ernie Somoza/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Tucson resident Jose Hernandez, 37, holds up his son Adrian to pet a life-size baby Tyrannosaurus Rex, a $250,000 suit operated by two people, at Tucson Childrens Museum Thursday afternoon to get a sneak peak at  the Walking With Dinosaurs exhibit. The same dinosaur will visit Main Gate Square tomorrow from 10AM to noon.
Ernie Somoza
Ernie Somoza/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Tucson resident Jose Hernandez, 37, holds up his son Adrian to pet a life-size baby Tyrannosaurus Rex, a $250,000 suit operated by two people, at Tucson Children’s Museum Thursday afternoon to get a sneak peak at the “Walking With Dinosaurs” exhibit. The same dinosaur will visit Main Gate Square tomorrow from 10AM to noon.

One of the benefits of a show coming to town is that the performers stay nearby. If you’re lucky, you might even glimpse a star at Main Gate Square.

But a “”big”” star will definitely make an appearance there Saturday, when “”Walking With Dinosaurs,”” the BBC’s TV show-turned-tour, brings its life-size baby Tyrannosaurus rex out to play from 10 a.m. to noon.

This appearance will precede five days of theatrical performances at the Tucson Convention Center, beginning Feb. 17. The performance was conceived of 10 years ago and is meant to be an incredibly realistic trip back in time.

“”(Dinosaur designer and builder) Sonny Tilders took a look at the BBC animated series and realized that he could take it one step further,”” said Nellie Beavers, associate tour manager.

The creators’ original goal was to see if they could build the creatures themselves — an enormous feat, given the scale of the animals. But once they succeeded, the reaction to the prototype at the initial press event was so overwhelming that the project picked up speed. It took six years of discovery and construction until the creatures were completely lifelike and ready to tour.

Made of various metals, bungee cords, latex and paint-covered spandex and filled with complex hydraulics and various controls, the creation of each dinosaur was a huge undertaking.

The “”baby T,”” as it is lovingly called, is seven feet tall and 14 feet long from nose to tail, said Matthew Rimmer, spokesperson for the show. And that’s just the baby — a mere six months old.

The baby T, the smallest dinosaur in the show, can be controlled by just one person. The performer, weighed down by up to 100 pounds of costume and equipment, will “”play with the audience,”” according to Rimmer, doing everything dinosaurs should — roaring, snarling and walking fluidly right up to the crowd.

More information about the main performance will be available at Saturday’s Main Gate Square event. The crew will answer questions and show a short film about how “”Walking With Dinosaurs”” came about. But the real draw will be the dinosaur.

“”The goal is to make the audience believe that it’s real,”” Rimmer said.

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