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An animated apatosaurus is one of many dinosaurs at The Jurassic Experience, at Bull Run Regional Park this weekend, as families drive through while listening to descriptions and facts about the many dinosaurs on display. The event runs through May 31, and tickets must be purchased online at drivethroughdinos.com.

Bull Run Park in Centreville will come to life this weekend with an assortment of dinosaurs, large and small, as part of The Jurassic Encounter.

The drive-through exhibit has been produced by Alfred Garr and his wife, Cheri, from Virginia Beach, who portray New Zealanders Drake the Dino wrangler, and Dr. Jane Bone-Diggedy, who brought their dinosaur family up from Paradise Ranch in Tasmania. 

“We have over 70 different dinosaurs throughout the park – large, small, and even hatchlings. We have a fossil dig underway as well,” Garr said. “The largest dinosaur is a carnotaurus named Asada, and he likes fajitas and anything with spice. He’s about 19 feet tall and more than 20 feet long.” 

There are 14 animatronic dinosaurs spread out along a mile of the park, along with more than 50 static exhibits. The one-hour drive is experienced in three different sections, travelling through an area with leaf-eating dinosaurs, then winding through a “bone yard” and research camp, and then finally experiencing the carnivorous dinosaurs. 

Drivers and their passengers listen to an audio narration, which Garr said is written with a focus on education and humor. 

“This is a beautiful park to host this,” he said. “The show is paced for you to get the narrative in the story, and you’ll have time to observe the species and have fun with it.”

An animatronic pterodactyl, Alfie, starts and ends the experience for families, and he’s a real jokester, Cheri Garr said. An interactive mobile app includes downloadable coloring books and challenge questions for use after the encounter.

Evan Inkley, an events specialist with NOVA Parks, which operates Bull Run, said the organization is experienced with drive-through events, such as the Festival of Lights every December. 

“We’re looking for other ways we can support the community during COVID,” Inkley said. “This is a great fit for us, and I think everyone’s going to love it.”

The dinosaurs will be here only until May 31, and then they’ll be a thing of the past – again.

Paul Lara covers the military beat. Reach him at plara@insidenova.com

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