In August 2022, Jurassic World: The Exhibition came stomping into London ExCel, sending ripples through many cups of coffee (although please note that no open-top beverages are actually allowed past the check-in point). This walk-through-style tour might have just been the most immersive and jaw-dropping experience in the entire Jurassic Park/Jurassic World franchise since the original 1993 film, so let’s break down everything it had to offer…
The Isla Nublar Ferry
After checking in, you boarded the Isla Nublar Ferry as seen in Jurassic World (2015), which transports guests from mainland Central America to the Costa Rican island Isla Nublar, home to Jurassic World. Of course, it isn’t an actual ferry, but it’s so instantly immersive that you’ll feel like you’ve stepped onto a real boat on the Thames (which is actually just a stone’s throw away from the venue). Between the accompanying Jurassic World “staff” and the “view” of the ocean horizon, you’ll be plunged into the world made famous in the blockbuster series.
“What have they got in there, King Kong?” Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) once said, and this might be the first thing that comes to mind as you approached those towering Jurassic World gates at the start of the exhibition. It might not be a 50-foot gorilla that you’ll find on the other side, but you were greeted with a Brachiosaurus, a life-size animatronic whose long neck moves so fluidly you’ll be asking one of the Jurassic World staff if they’ve actually used fossilized DNA to bring prehistoric animals back to life.
The entire area was kitted out with foliage and appropriate fencing, and other man-made structures from viewing platforms to large crates. Nearby you also found a Stygimoloch in the back of a truck, and watch as it sticks its armor-plated head over the top from time to time. And then there’s a Jurassic World paleo-veterinarian, who has an infant Pteranadon cradled in their arms, something tailored a bit more toward those “younger versions of adults”.
Beyond the first section of Jurassic World, you swapped the dimly lit “outdoor” jungle setting for a bleach-white, sterile laboratory environment named the “Hammond Creation Lab”, which housed display cases populated with prehistoric mosquitos fossilized in shiny amber, as well as a hatchery, where dinosaur eggs and life-like newborn Parasaurolophus, are on display. This area was no less interactive, though, and there was another Jurassic World employee with an infant dinosaur – this time, an adorable, wide-eyed Parasaur.
Do you remember the scene in Jurassic World where Owen Grady’s four Velociraptors are muzzled and contained in individual holding pens, their bodies and jaws completely restricted? Well, in this part of the tour, you felt like you had stepped onto that set, as these movie-quality raptors look very much alive – they’re not just moving, they’re breathing. There was, however, a slightly concerning detail, as Blue’s pen is empty! In the next room, you’ll see her in a large holding pen with a raptor wrangler (no, unfortunately it’s not Chris Pratt)!
Then, it was onto the first of two main events – the Indominus Rex! Just like with Blue, you would enter a room where you’ll be faced with a dinosaur enclosure, however, this one doesn’t have wall-to-ceiling fences like the last one, as you’ll be able to see the dinosaur’s head emerge over the top as it creeps out of the dense foliage to feast upon a hunk of meat that a Jurassic World employee is dangling overhead using a crane. No words can describe just how startlingly real the Indominus looked here – it really had to be seen to be believed.
While the Indominus Rex was designed to be the main selling-point of Jurassic World in the movies, there was simply no beating the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex. After entering a similar room (though much bigger), the full-bodied Tyrannosaurus Rex (yet another frighteningly realistic animatronic creation) will breach its perimeter fence, forcing all the Jurassic World employees to burst into panic as they usher you towards the exit doors. This T-Rex meant business, and the way its flesh and muscles undulated as it moved and breathed, and the way its eyes blinked and rolled, and of course that deafening roar, left you frozen to the ground (which was probably for the best in this situation anyway).
And so once you had escaped the Tyrannosaurus Rex, that was the end of your tour, as you would find yourself in Jurassic World: The Exhibition’s giftshop, where you’re very likely to “spare no expense”.
Jurassic World: The Exhibition certainly delivered on its biggest promise – that it’s “the closest you’ll come to living dinosaurs”. The walk-through tour took roughly 45 minutes to enjoy, and there was also a couple of other smaller areas to take note of, such as a museum-style area where you’ll meet “Bumpy” – the infant Ankylosaurus from animated Netflix series Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous – and a collection of Gyrospheres in a jungle setting (the gyroscopic vehicles from Jurassic World), which made for a perfect photo opportunity.
Jurassic World: The Exhibition opened on the 25th August 2022 and was meant to end in November, but due to the high demand and it’s popularity, it was extended until January 2023 and officially closed on 15th January 2023. Did you get to visit this amazing experience, should it return? Let us know your thoughts by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page.