By Paul Langdon
The pinnacle of prehistoric attractions is back at the Saint Louis Zoo! For the second year in a row, Emerson Dinoroarus presents visitors with incredible animatronic creatures that existed long before the age of humans, as well as living examples of these creatures’ modern descendants. And if you were lucky enough to experience Dinoroarus last year, there’s plenty of new features for the family to enjoy in 2022.
“We have a whole new dino dig area for the kids and adults to participate in, so more digging options to uncover fossils, a large magnetic puzzle wall to put together a dinosaur, and more information about the role dinosaurs played in the world.” explains Edward Spevak, Ph.D., Curator of Invertebrates at the Saint Louis Zoo. “Also, there’s a new playground area. This is one thing which we were asked about last time. You know, kids have to blow off steam and that was something with the old children’s zoo.”
Some returning favorites are the ever-popular tyrannosaurus rex, the duckbilled parasaurolophus with its adorable babies, and the ornithophobe’s worst nightmare quetzalcoatlus. And a new static addition to the attraction is euoplocephalus (pronounced: yoo-plow-seh-fuh-luhs). This member of the ankylosaur family was an herbivore with an armored, spiky back and clubbed tail.
As for featured living animals, visitors will see gueanea fowl, colorful macaws, and a crow. “The reason we have a crow is because the coloration of the crow is the same as you’d see in a microraptor,” says Spevak. “And the beaks of the macaws are similar to beaks dinosaurs had.”
There is also a selection of aquatic lifeforms on display, some of which even predate the dinosaurs. “We also wanted to emphasize that, even though the dinosaurs are gone, a lot of the animals that were around even before the dinosaurs, like jellyfish, are still with us. But now, even those are disappearing.”
While dinosaurs are certainly fun for all ages, the history of these ancient birds paints an ominous warning for anyone that cares about the preservation of animal species.
“We want to educate people on why they became extinct. And unfortunately, a lot of the things that we’re doing today to wildlife around the world are the same things that happened to the dinosaurs: loss of habitat and increased temperatures. So, we wanted to educate people that what happened in the past is also going on now, but we also want to give a hopeful message of what you can do. And there’s a lot of things we tell people they can do to help our modern-day dinosaurs and all of the other animals on the planet: planting native plants, learning more about extinction, learning more about wildlife, and supporting organizations like the St. Louis Zoo.”
While the Saint Louis Zoo is known for its fun and educational animal exhibits, its greatest service to the wildlife around the world is certainly its conservation efforts. This time-honored St. Louis institution has established the WildCare Institute, which is dedicated to creating a sustainable future for wildlife and humans across the globe, and the Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine, which takes a holistic approach to wildlife conservation, public health, and sustainable ecosystems. To learn more about the Saint Louis Zoo’s conservation efforts, and how you can help to protect wildlife, please visit www.stlzoo.org/conservation.
And for more details and ticket information for Emerson Dinoroarus, please visit www.stlzoo.org/visit/thingstoseeanddo/discoverycorner/dinoroarus. This exhibit will remain open through October 31, 2022.