On Wednesday, July 8, the roars of 15 life-sized robotic dinosaurs will shake Conseco Fieldhouse. Audience members will see the closest thing to a live Tyrannosaurus Rex that has existed. A 72-foot long Brachiosaurus will walk the same floor as the Pacers. After recovering from the awe of such a spectacle, reality sets in. How, after so many years of extinction, are there dinosaurs in Indianapolis? The minds behind Walking With Dinosaurs have created something unsurpassed by any other crew of researchers, engineers and designers.
The first generation of Walking With Dinosaurs appeared in 1999 on the BBC as a television special. A combination of advanced computer graphics and animatronics, this special caught the eye of Bruce Mactaggart. Mactaggart realized the program's potential as an arena show that would take everything one step farther: bringing the dinosaurs off of the screen and into the same room as the audience. After five years of organization and design and a full year of assembly, the dinosaurs were ready to walk again in Melbourne, Australia. About 300,000 Australians witnessed this first tour, a number that encouraged the Walking With Dinosaurs crew to keep on walking.
The six years of preparation for Walking With Dinosaurs encompassed the work of great imaginations. Director Scott Faris syncs his backgrounds in Las Vegas and Broadway with the engineering genius of robotics director Sonny Tilders and the sweeping visual arrangements of artistic director William May in a manner that audiences across the world have found immensely believable. While many are drawn to Walking With Dinosaurs based on the show's sweeping robotic feats, these giant robotic dinosaurs interact and exist within a story that impresses audiences in a way completely different from humongous robots.
According to Walking With Dinosaurs spokesman David Barber, this show is "entertaining but informative. It's definitely not a lecture." The show's foremost intention is to portray science and realism, rather than a storyline. The dinosaurs do, however, interact within a family-centered environment. Walking With Dinosaurs spans thousands of years, additionally highlighting the growth of dinosaurs from a minor part of Earth's population into the most aggressive, successful force on the planet. Armored herbivores develop parallel to well-armed carnivores throughout the 90-minute duration of the show. While the life-sized robotic dinosaurs are certainly an admirable attraction, "music and lighting are a huge part of the show," Barber states.
Indianapolis is a special stop on the current Walking With Dinosaurs tour, boasting new additions to the show previously experienced by a very limited number of other audiences. Two brand new dinosaurs join the cast. Narrators Lucas Worth and Jack Stone are also new to the cast. What Barber describes as a "thrill like at the top of a roller coaster" runs at Conseco Fieldhouse from July 8-12.