Pontchartrain Center 4545 Williams BlvdÂ Kenner, LA 70065 (504) 465-9985ÂAll week we`ve been seeing the ads on TV and hearing them on the radio about this "Discover the Dinosaurs" event that was going on locally at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, LA. We were hesitant on going because it was pricey to get in, but the looks of the commercial and everything listed they have we decided to give it a chance for the sake of our 5 year old who was excited to see and learn about some dinosaurs. Here`s the admission prices as follows:
Admission*: (taxes included) Adults : $17.00(13yrs & older) Children:$20.00 (2-12yrs)EXHIBIT PLUSÂ Children:$13.00 (2-12yrs)EXHIBIT ONLYÂ Seniors: $15.00 (65+) Children 1 and under free EXHIBIT PLUSÂ includes Dinosaur Exhibit, Dino Dig, Dino Den, Dino Theater, Dino Coloring Station, Scavenger Hunt,Â Unlimited Dinosaurs Rides, Mini Golf, and Inflatables. EXHIBIT ONLYÂ includes Dinosaur Exhibit, Dino Dig, Dino Den, Dino Theater, Dino Coloring Station and Scavenger Hunt.(Individual ride tickets may be purchased for $5-$6) NOTE:Â Following activities require separate tickets: Gem & Fossil Mining, and Face Painting *Exhibit Only tickets are only available at the door.We went with my husbands parents who of course have Sophia wrapped around her little finger so they got the Exhibit Plus package - meaning Sophia should have been able to also enjoy mini golf. Well unfortunately our experience was NOTHING like what was promised in these ads. We were promised "fun for the whole family of all ages" - everything there was meant for younger children. We paid a total of $88 for 2 senior citizens (even though they were supposed to get a discount), 2 adults and 1 child who is 5 years old. For that price you expected there to be something good right? Wrong. We went in with the expectation of all sorts of activities, fun, learning, etc. We also expected over priced food, toys and pictures - that`s a given at events generally. Well not here. When we got there my husbands parents already purchased the tickets for the Discover Dinosaurs event and were just waiting for us. Well I wonder why they bought tickets because we could have easily walked in without paying.
Here`s a nice photo collage of the "lovely" Discover the Dinosaurs exhibit at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner: (these were taken on the phone so they probably don`t show great details or quality)
My breakdown of Discover the Dinosaurs based off the info provided on their website:
The goal of Discover the Dinosaurs is to create a fun environment of learning and activity that explores the wonderment and mystery of our pre-historic past. Once you enter through the stone arch, the adventure begins that is full of smiles, amazement and fun. Hearing a 5 year old describe features of a Pachycephalosaurus will bring a smile to any adults face! Discover the Dinosaurs is for the entire family, and especially kids, to explore the mystery of pre-historic life in an environment of learning, discovery, and fun. Discover the Dinosaurs is a unique hands on exhibit that consists of over 40 moving and replica museum quality dinosaurs that gives you the opportunity to actually get close and touch the dinosaurs! Beyond the exhibit, additional fun activities are available for kids of all ages, which make spending the day with the dinosaurs a great experience for the entire family.Well as I said, there wasn`t much education about it. None of the staff were encouraging engagement with children. No one was trying to get kids to learn. Nothing. Just a walk through with hardly any info and the info they had had grammar and spelling errors. I`m not a grammar Nazi by any means, but things like this should be correct. Am I wrong? Also, they promote fun for all ages and the whole family - no, this is NOT for all ages. The rides and inflatables obviously have age restrictions. I did not see ONE adult there with a smile on their face or having fun other than trying to let their child enjoy it at the very least. Great experience? Definitely not!
First of all, there was NO fog in the exhibits we saw. I`m not sure if that`s good or bad, but either way, that`s a false statement right there. The animatronics were poorly done and like I mentioned earlier, most of the dinosaurs were defective in some way or another - buttons not working or just broken body parts. The non-moving dinosaurs that they speak of have signs all over them encouraging kids not to climb, understandably for your childs safety, but what`s not safe is the fact that those too had major cracks or broken parts on them as well. As far as the prizes go for the scavenger hunt - they`re just stickers, tattoos and tiny cheap little dinosaur toys that can be found at your local dollar store.
The Exhibitconsists of 8-10 scenes. Each scene represents dinosaurs from a period of time that best reflects when the dinosaurs lived. The scenes engage you with sight, sound, and motion by using special lighting, sound effects, animatronics, and fog. The backdrops, rocks, flooring, and plant materials are designed to bring you back in time to a landscape where dinosaurs may have lived. Many of our non-movingÂ Dinosaurs are positioned safely throughout the exhibit, so you can touch and feel them. This is encouraged and a cornerstone of the Discover the Dinosaurs experience. Be sure to pickup a map/scavenger hunt sheet at the entrance to the exhibit. The map will guide you through the exhibit and the scavenger hunt will ask you to answer questions about each scene. Kids, once you complete the scavenger hunt, spin the wheel. You have earned a prize!
Dino Dig:Â A fun way to experience being a Jr. Paleontologist, guests can brush away sand to reveal dinosaur fossils beneath.From our experience this isn`t exactly safe considering children throw the sand around while no staff member overlooks the area. It`s completely unattended. I mostly blame the parents, but they had enough staff members that someone should have been there to also advise this behavior from happening if you ask me. I mean for the price we paid they should make it as enjoyable for everyone as possible. Also, on their web site it looks like a nice set up, at our location it was just a smaller sized sandbox. Obviously it`s meant for children, but it just wasn`t as nice as they made it appear on the site.
Dino Theater(s):Â Guests can watch both educational and entertaining movies on our dinosaur sized screen.For us this was a small inflated room and I didn`t see anything educational on. They did have a dinosaur cartoon on, which is appropriate for the kids, but the screen quality that it was showing on was horrible. Plus with light entering in the room from the rest of the exhibit made viewing it even worse.
Dino Den:Â Dinosaurs designed just for our youngest guests to sit on, hug, and touch. Over 10 whimsical and colorful dinosaurs that are just their size!Sophia is obviously too old for this, but just looking at it was plain, but like they say it`s meant for the little ones. But if you have much younger children, this was basically the only option for them and the dinosaurs do nothing but sit there. No noise or movement.
Dinosaur Rides:Â Ride on the back of a T-Rex or Triceratops! Hop in the saddle on top of one of these animatronic dinosaurs. Theyâ€™re not too scary, but a once in a lifetime opportunity and an excellent place to take a photo. When the last time you sat on the back of a Dinosaur? At Discover the Dinosaurs we have Dinosaur rides, a Triceratops for our smaller guests and a T-Rex for our larger guests. They move up and down, side to side and roar. Its a once in a lifetime chance to ride a dinosaur and its a excellent photo/video opportunity.These are the only rides you will find at the exhibit despite how their tv and radio ads sound. They made their ads sound as if there would be multiple rides. Not one of the same kind. As I said, these weren`t that great either. The idea of them sounds fun and cool, but in reality they move VERY slowly and poorly. The run down machines inside Toys R Us and outside of the Kmarts around here move a bit better than these. They advise pregnant women shouldn`t ride on them or those with back paid (even though it point out it`s for ages 2-13 only), but in all honesty, I could have rode that thing backwards and thought nothing of it (and I`m 35 weeks pregnant!) Oh, also, the ones we had sure didn`t move side to side either. Just slightly back and forth! I think a baby just learning to sit up could have easily road this - my comparison for how pathetic it was.
Inflatables:Â Jump, slide, play, and have a blast in one of our several dinosaur themed inflatables. Note height restrictions and limits are in place ensuring that all our guests have a fun and safe experience.This is where Sophia spent most of her time. Mostly because there was of course nothing else for her to really do. In fact, that`s where 99% of the kids were that were there were at and where I was talking to another parent who was just as disappointed in this as us. The inflatables were actually inflated and nice and Sophia had fun. I`m just upset at the price we paid to let her go jumping when we could have went to other local places at any point and time and paid way less. But nothing negative on the inflatables - at least not that I noticed. But you DO need SOCKS, which of course isn`t advertised anywhere until you get there. So we had to pay $1 for socks. Of course if Sophia would have listened to her grandparents to begin with she wouldn`t have needed us to buy her a pair, so that`s kind of on us. But regardless it should have been noted elsewhere other than at the sign when you get there. Another trap for you to spend more money; especially since that`s the main thing they have there!
Gem and Fossil Panning:Â Guests can purchase bags of mining rough and step up to the sluice and shake it out, panning in the running water to reveal the gems and fossils. Guests can also explore the mine with a headlamp-equipped hardhat to find hidden rocks, gems, and fossils located in the dark mineshaft.Oh we didn`t do this because it required us PAYING MORE MONEY to participate in. Yea, that $17 per adult and $20 per child fee does NOT include this even though it should. It looked like a school event set up and nothing special for us to even want to pay the extra money for, especially not with the cost of entrance to the event. They didn`t sucker us into that one!
Dino Face painting:Â Our professional face painters offer simple dinosaur designs to full-face painting for purchase. Our dinosaur designs are fun; leaving smiles and a memorable impression that goes home with you.Once again we didn`t do this because it required us PAYING MORE MONEY to participate in. I mean really, they couldn`t include this with the entrance fee?! They weren`t that great from what I was seeing on other kids who were getting them or even the ones on adults! Maybe I`m a bit confused, but professional means you`re really good at it am I correct? The way the ones I saw were coming out - well I`ve seen better work at school fairs... where they were done for FREE.
Mini Golf:Â Our mini golf course(s) contain facts about dinosaurs at each hole. Whether you get a hole in one, par, or bogey, youâ€™ll learn about dinosaurs and have fun at every turn.This SHOULD have been included with what we paid but we got screwed over and they wanted us to pay more money to play it. Yea, what a rip off! Not to mention it was tiny anyway. Again, like something you would have found at a school event, not something you pay a lot of money to attend.
These are by far no where close to museum quality from what I saw. If they weren`t broken and worked properly then yes, they would have been great. But since many didn`t work and were very noticeably defective, I wouldn`t call it museum quality. You find better quality at outdoor theme parks! At least those have a reason to be defective from the weather and such. What`s the excuse of these that are roped off for no one to play on?
Touch the DinosaursAlong with the animatronic dinosaurs in the exhibit that move, static dinosaurs replicas are featured throughout the exhibit. The â€œstaticâ€ dinosaur replicas are of museum quality, and anatomically proportioned to reflect paleontologists documented findings. Many of these replicas are positioned safely in the exhibit, so you can touch and feel them. This is encouraged and a cornerstone of the Discover the Dinosaurs experience.
Dino Coloring A great place for guests to take a break from all the excitement and color a keepsake.Wow, I don`t remember even seeing this. Oh wait, that`s because this was in the last section we visited (the "paid area" as we call it) tucked away. Another example of poor signage around to direct anyone to anything. I wonder if we would have had to pay to color as well?!
Are hand sanitizers at the events? Yes, we do have hand sanitizers located throughout Discover the Dinosaurs. The sanitizing cleaning solution in non-alcohol based and kids friendly.I did NOT see ONE hand sanitizer at the event we attended. Glad we`re not germ-a-phobes!
Are attractions cleaned and sanitized? Yes, other attractions are cleaned and sanitized with a cleaning agent and sanitizer on a regular basis.Once again, I did not once see the attractions being clean, nor did they look clean.
Can I leave Discover the Dinosaurs and re-enter? Guests will only be able to re-enter exhibit on same day, if hand is stamped by Discover the Dinosaur staff at exit door.You can ignore this info as when we went there was no staff at the exit door. In fact, we could have gotten in for free if we were dishonest people! Just go by the door, open it and go on in. No staff is watching or standing by. Needless to say it was a total WASTE of money. Everything was so spaced out it looked almost empty. I don`t like being cramped so I mean it`s a good thing in a way, but the lack of activities and the misleading advertising was ridiculous. The cost is ridiculous. This event should have been $5 per child and adults free considering there`s nothing for them to do! Even then to get a face painting or do the mining will cost you extra. Getting a nice family photo will run you $30 for quality that`s not worth it. Want to get a toy? You`re cheaper getting a toy from Audubon Zoo and all of us locals know the zoo can be costly! Luckily the socks were the ONLY reasonably priced thing for just $1. While I know it`s cold outside, it doesn`t mean you need to keep the air off inside either. So the comfort level of just sitting and watching wasn`t too great either. Promoting this as an educational event shouldn`t be happening. There`s no staff discussing dinosaurs with you or anything but operating there lame rides and taking the pictures. Otherwise you won`t learn anything. Better read the poorly written signage for yourself if you want to TRY and learn anything. Also, don`t forget to look for the 20ft tall t-rex. If you find him let me know because he must have used his robot legs and left before we got there because what we saw was NOT 20 ft tall or life-sized as once again promoted. As I`ve said over and over, I feel this even was a waste of time and money with a LOT of FALSE ADVERTISEMENT. Â I`m not the only one who felt that way and apparently others in other areas who experienced the exhibit in their town were less than thrilled as well. I wish we could just be refunded. I could live with the $5 for Sophia, maybe even $10 for her, but adults should have been free! Don`t waste your time whether you`re a local or looking forward to it coming to your town!
What others had to say:
Discover the Dinosuars ExhibitÂ Â -Â San Bernardino,Â CAPostedÂ 06/22/2013Â byÂ Yesi26DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!! Way over priced!!! I thought my sons would have so much fun and I had been telling them all about it. I felt so bad for this horrible experience. I took them to Chuck E Cheese to make them feel better. I paid $80 for 1 adult and 3 children. The child admission includes a wristband to ride the "RIDES" (if you can even call the one ride that). You walk through the entire "exhibit" within 30 minutes and some of the dinosaurs do not even work. There definitely is not 60 dinosaurs, more like 20. Then, you get to the "rides" a t-rex with a saddle that a child can get on for 2 minutes. Then, they have a play area for toddlers to go play in with plastic dinosaurs to climb on. There was no miniature golf or house jumpers that were advertised. Face painting and dino-digging is not included in the wristband price. Then they advertise a dino-theater. It is the movie The Land Before Time, with about ten fold out chairs! They have a dino store at the end of the so called "exhibit" way overpriced. Dinosaur bubble wand at the 99 cent store sold for $7.00. Complete waste of money. This exhibit is pathetic!!!discover the dinosaurÂ -Â las vegas,Â NVÂ -Â 04/12/2013Â byÂ notfun4methe quality of the exhibits are not worth the price of admission. it is not for children over 6-7 years old. the jumping things and dinosaur rides are for "small" children. its a good thing we are the type of family that makes our outings fun no matter what. the worse part was that after using my credit card four times there - never once did anyone say "thank you." if your planning to go, you will have more fun & spend less doing something else.baton rouge river centerÂ -Â baton rouge,Â LAÂ -Â 03/16/2013 Â byÂ shaydzachary012I am glad to see so many people writing negative reviews. Only wish i would have read reviews before we paid almost 60 dollars for 2 adults and 1 child to attend. the commercials looked great and we were really excited about taking our son to this event but were very disappointed. only 1/4 of the auditorium was filled with dinosaurs to be viewed. the rest was inflatables for children to jump in. very disappointed and hope others read the reviews before going tomorow and wasting their money. I wish there was a place to write a review on their website or facebook page but i dont see where i can do this.