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Prehistoric invasion

By Staff | Sep 29, 2015

Thousands of people were taken back in time millions of years this past weekend for a look at what our planet looked like in the age of the dinosaurs.

The floor of the Lee Civic Center was loaded with displays of numerous prehistoric creatures as T-Rex Planet paid a visit to Southwest Florida.

People had a chance to learn about the dinosaurs, look at the true-to-life, movable displays and take their kids to ride dinosaurs and bounce around in dinosaur-theme bounce houses.

Dave Eldika, owner of T-Rex Planet said the crowds were steady and the children were having a lot of fun learning about dinosaurs.

“People are excited to see what we’re doing for the kids here and families love to see their kids have a good time,” Eldika said. “We want to bring people a feel for what dinosaurs were like back in the day.”

One half of the floor was devoted to education, while much of the far end of the arena held the bounce houses, dinosaur rides, a dinosaur band, souvenir stand and other areas for photo ops.

There were nearly 50 life-like dinosaurs, animatronic, roaring replicas, with information on the animal nearby regarding what they ate, their size and other information.

There was also a sandbox where kids could do archeological digs for fossils and watch a movie about dinosaurs, while Eldika came around occasionally with a baby dinosaur in a carrier that other little ones could pet and show love to.

This was T-Rex Planet’s first time in the area, and it presented its form of “edutainment.”

Indeed last year, people were sent on a journey throughout the civic center as they saw similar animals, with the bounces houses and fun stuff at the end of the path.

This version had everything out in the open, though other than that it was the same show.

Autumn Speichert of Naples, brought her young daughter, who loves dinosaurs, and watched as she rode a T-Rex.

“We came here when it was ‘Walking with the Dinosaurs’ last year. We were excited to come and see them again. She’s having a blast and wants to stay until closing time,” Speichert said.

Zachariah Peer, 11, waited in line with his grandparents so his little brother, D.J., 8, could ride on a baby dinosaur.

“This is cool. There are a lot of fun events. I like the bounce houses,” Peer said.

“I liked the dinosaur rides and dinosaur stuff, and the bubble,” little brother said.