From Thursday’s The Oklahoman.
Dinosaurs to soon rule Ford Center
No bones about it, dinosaurs will rule the Ford Center in January.
The arena hosted Wednesday an invitation-only sneak peek of “Walking with Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacular,” which features 15 life-size animatronic dinosaurs, including such favorites as Tyrannosaurus rex, brachiosaurus and stegosaurus.
The show, which Ford Center General Manager Gary Desjardins said has been seen by millions worldwide, will be in Oklahoma City for eight performances Jan. 21-25. Tickets will range from $19.50 to $59.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday.
“I am so excited about this big event coming. Dinosaurs are something all of us kids from 2 to 92 are excited about,” said City Councilman Sam Bowman, speaking to journalists, Oklahoma City Public Schools educators and about 40 grade-school students. “I think this is going to be the big event in 2009 in Oklahoma City.”
The spectacle will feature lifelike, full-scale dinosaurs that not only walk but also fight, make noise and simulate eating. A scissor lift outside the arena was set to the height of the tallest animatronic animal in the show: the 35-foot-tall brachiosaurus.
“Walking with Dinosaurs” started as a BBC TV series that used special effects to show realistic reptiles. It took hundreds of artists, sculptors and engineers six years and $20 million to create the live show, which launched January 2007 in Australia to huge crowds.
“In San Jose, Calif., ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ played in front of more people than saw Hannah Montana, Bruce Springsteen and Van Halen combined,” said Desjardins, adding the staff has worked two years to bring the show to the arena.
The live show combines entertainment and education, and Rich Cifelli, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, said he hoped it would draw children to science.
“Dinosaurs are very important to education … just for the simple reason that we’re interested in them,” said Cifelli, who took many questions about dinosaurs from the students.
Will Holleman, a Cleveland Elementary second-grader, was astounded at the video clips of the show, which he hopes includes a pterodactyl.
Fellow second-grader Josie Lynn Gentry said she wants to see the show even if the dinosaurs look a bit scary.
“We studied a lot about them in first grade,” she said. “I thought it was amazing, especially because they’re so big. … I’m really excited.”
What: “Walking with Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacular”
When: Eight performances Jan. 21-25.
Where: Ford Center, 100 W Reno.
Tickets: On sale 10 a.m. Friday at U.S. Army Box Office at Ford Center, Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 235-8288 and online at www.okfordcenter.com.
Ticket prices: $49.50, $39.50 and $19.50 for opening night; $59.50, $49.50 and $25 for all other performances.
Sponsored by: The Oklahoman and Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.