Tyrannosaurus rex might be five metres tall, 13 metres long and tip the scales at nine tons, but even T. rex isn’t too much of a challenge for the creative team at Neptunus!
For the temporary structure wizards have underpinned their reputation as one of the giants of the industry by building an exclusive venue for a unique, brand-new immersive dinosaur experience in London. Dinosaurs in the Wild, billed as the greatest safari ever, is a jaw-dropping live-action spectacular for all the family where visitors are transported back in time to see, and even feel, what life was like 67 million years ago surrounded by prehistoric animals. It’s been described by time-travellers as “thrilling”, “amazing” and “a little bit scary”.
After successful seasons in Birmingham and Manchester at existing event centres, the experience has opened in London to huge crowds and ‘wow’ reviews.
However, with no permanent building in the capital available to accommodate such a large show over a long period of time, organisers turned to temporary structure specialists Neptunus to create a bespoke venue where families can experience ‘live’ dinosaurs as they have never seen them before.
And Neptunus certainly rose to the occasion by constructing a temporary building with reinforced flooring and load-bearing roofs that would have been more than capable of accommodating even the largest prehistoric creatures to walk the Earth.
Managing Director April Trasler says: “We certainly weren’t overawed by our dinosaur challenge. Although of course the creatures aren’t really inside our structure, the mammoth amount of sophisticated equipment required in the building to provide the immersive high-tech experience is colossal – and our temporary buildings are certainly capable of accommodating all the very heavy and specialist technology installed inside.”
It took an eight-strong team from Neptunus just three weeks to build the innovative venue on the Greenwich Peninsula, close to London’s O2 Arena, utilising the company’s state-of-the-art Evolution technology. The Evolution Structure covers 3,400 square metres and stands eight metres tall – incorporating black-out skins to provide a dark interior, with flooring adaptations to cope with the show’s exceptionally heavy installations.
The venue houses two spectacular time machines and an extraordinary dinosaur research station, TimeBase 67 – built 67 million years in the past. Visitors and their guides tour a range of laboratories and witness wonders like dinosaurs hatching, an autopsy on a giant Pachycephalosaurus and an observation lookout where dinosaurs roam in the wild all around them.
1,600 square metres of Alu Hall structures are constructed behind the temporary building to accommodate the back-of-house support team, while a 600-square-metre Alure Globe structure links to the Evolution to form a foyer and reception area for visitors.
The Dinosaur in the Wild experience is the brainchild of Creative Director Tim Haines, the inspiration behind the BBC’s award-winning Walking with Dinosaurs documentary and the ITV drama Primeval.
A heady mix of immersive theatre, theme park fun and the latest scientific research, Dinosaurs in the Wild uses dramatic storytelling, high-tech animation and exciting 3D audio-visual effects. More than 100 artists and technicians create the unique experience which features eight prehistoric giants, including the iconic Tyrannosaurus rex, the three-horned Triceratops, the towering Alamosaurus and the amazing Quetzalcoatlus, the largest creature ever to fly.
Trish McClenaghan, Event Manager for Dinosaurs in the Wild, said: “The temporary structure is really great. From the visitor’s point of view, there is no difference in the experience in this temporary building than for the events we staged at the NEC in Birmingham and EventCity in Manchester, it is just the same. The Dinosaurs in the Wild experience has been designed to be staged in different places and as the temporary structures are so good, it means that we have the ability to take the show anywhere.”