Knott's Invites Children to Track Dinosaurs

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Who said dinosaurs are extinct?

Starting July 17, Knott's Berry Farm will be challenging young dinosaur lovers to go on daily expeditions to find the ubiquitous but sometimes elusive beasts.

Children attending the amusement park during an upcoming promotion known as "Dinosaur Days," which will run daily until Labor Day, will be dubbed junior paleontologists and given the chance to go on a dinosaur safari.

The summer-long marketing theme centers on the park's 6-year-old Kingdom of the Dinosaurs attraction, located in the Roaring Twenties area, but feeds on the dinosaur mania that has hit the Southland--and most of the nation--since the opening of Steven Spielberg's blockbuster film, "Jurassic Park," based on the popular Michael Crichton book.

The movie, rated PG-13, is considered too violent and suspenseful for many children under the age of 13.

So Knott's Berry Farm, banking on the natural attraction to dinosaurs of kids ages 3 to 11, will be offering a more palatable and more educational alternative.

"We are targeting that segment of the population, who are the biggest dinosaur fans of all, but have been somewhat left out of the craze because of the movie," said Knotts spokesman Bob Ochsner.

For the $15.95 admission, children will be able to join in a scientific mission: Find the dinosaurs at 10 areas in the park.

Under the scenario that dinosaurs have been transported to Knott's Berry Farm via a time machine, the "junior paleontologists" will be issued maps of the park and will look for clues to the locations of assorted thunder lizards, including a vicious tyrannosaurus rex and a stegosaurus.

They will also see displays of real dinosaur eggs and bones--the largest such exhibit outside of museums, according to the theme park. In addition, real paleontologists from Whittier College and Cal State Long Beach will be on hand to answer questions.

For older dino-lovers, the park will feature a continuously running film festival of movies that include dinosaurs, such as "The Land that Time Forgot" and "One Million B.C."

"This will be both educational and whimsical," Ochsner said.

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