Freeze Frame

Feld Entertainment Brings Jurassic Park to a New Live Show

Feld created an original script, then assembled 300 workers to create dinosaurs and sets.

By Susan Burns December 2, 2019 Published in the December 2019 issue of Sarasota Magazine

The  T. rex animatronic puppet is 42 feet long and 17 feet from floor to nose.

Giant, fearsomely realistic dinosaur puppets “clomped” through the studios of Palmetto-based Feld Entertainment this summer, in rehearsal for Feld’s new show, Jurassic World Live Tour. NBCUniversal, which owns the Jurassic franchise, approached Feld with the idea three years ago. Feld, one of the world’s largest live touring family entertainment businesses, created an original script, then assembled 300 workers to create dinosaurs and sets. Everything was designed to be as lifelike as possible—even the dinosaurs’ eyes. “I’ve never talked more about eyeballs,” says associate producer Chris Nobels. “The eyes help bring the dinosaurs to life and make them believable and show their heart and personality, so they needed to be accurate and lifelike, whether you’re in the floor seats two feet away or 300 feet away.”

The dinosaurs were built in different cities and shipped to Feld’s 580,000-square-foot headquarters for assembly. Most dinosaurs are transported to shows in one piece in special trailers. T. Rex travels in two 44-foot shipping containers.

The Facts

Feld created 21 dinosaurs, including Tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops, velociraptors, Indominus rex, a baby stegosaurus and Jeannie the Troodon.

The large dinosaurs like T. Rex, stegosaurus and triceratops are animatronic puppets controlled remotely. It takes two people to control T. Rex: one to make it walk and the other to control head, eye and mouth movement.

The dinosaurs’ bones are aluminum frame and the muscles are bags stuffed with Styrofoam beans. Soft, reptilian-looking skin is stretched over the muscle bags so that when a dinosaur walks, the thigh muscles ripple. 

Twenty-eight performers rehearsed for 12 weeks at Feld before their first show in Columbus, Ohio, in September.

Fulfill your dinosaur fantasy: Jurassic World Live Tour is coming to Tampa’s Amalie Arena, Jan. 3-5, 2020.

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