Upon finding that the exhibit Dino World Expo was opening in Madrid on the 18th, I decided to book myself a ticket for the first pass on Saturday morning, 10 AM. I guessed that it would not be too full since it was the first weekend, early, and before school was out for the summer and all the reviews popped up so everyone found about it and brought their kids.
The exhibit was held in Madrid’s fair grounds, IFEMA Espacio 5.1, a short drive away, and aside a small mishap with setting the Sat-Nav. When I arrived, about 15 minutes later there were about ten families with little kids. I walked around for a little and came back when the doors opened. There were several types of tickets, the basic one was 13.50€. The exhibit included an extra “Virtual Reality experience for 3€” (it was 4€ if you bought it during the exhibit itself), so I decided to get the “premium entry ticket” which for 23.50€ included entry, a printed picture (10€ otherwise), the VR experience, a lanyard and a poster – both of which have been distributed around kids who might have want them.
When my ticket was scanned, the system roared and I was given my “VIP lanyard”, and told that I just had to show it around. Then again, let me tell you that I almost called this post “normalise people doing stuff alone” but that would go into the ranting territory and I did not want to do that – it is enough to say that from the beginning to the end of this exhibit, every staff member gaped at me for being in a dinosaur exhibition alone / without kids.
Upon entrance I got my picture taken, then had to wait a little with a couple of families before me until the first room cleared. We got an explanation about the audio-guide app and the exhibit rules. The exhibition itself was composed mostly of animatronics that moved and roared – when they had remembered to turn them on, some of them were still asleep. Aside from the life-sized animatronics, there was a CGI film and at the end of it, the VR experience which… was okay I guess. I learnt that I am not a VR person, as I got more than a bit queasy from the “flying” with the pterodactyl, swimming with a few anachronic species, and then following the T-Rex hunting.
From the shop I got my picture and the promised poster, although I had to show my ticket, not only the pass, in order to do so. All in all it was a cute little experience, but not really worth a detour if you are not in the area – one day I’ll learn that “for all the family” means “kid-oriented”, but that day was not today. On the way back the Sat-Nav got me confused and I took the wrong exit (“stay left on exit 9A” is not the same as “take exit 9A and then 9B to the left” in my books), but I was home by noon, and of course I took a lot of pictures.