Sunday, 29 April 2018

Dinosaurs in the Wild

Dinosaurs in the Wild Triceratops on the Montana Plains
A family of Triceratops, on the Montana Plains.

We arrived early, which gave us a chance to use the facilities, before we boarded our timepod, following our safety briefing in which we also received special glasses, that would allow is to see through the reinforced windows.

It took only a few seconds to travel back 67 million years, at which point our timepod deployed its wheels, converting it into a X90 CTP land vehicle, and we headed to Timebase 67.

A few scary moments as some dinosaurs took an interest in our vehicle, with one clambering over the window, as it tried to get on the roof, but, otherwise, it was a plenty journey ambling past some Alamosaurus, Triceratops, Ankylosaurus, Dakotaraptor and many more.

We disembarked and went into the visitor's centre, where our guide explained where we were and what we would see. Around the walls various CCTV screens showed the goings on around the base: Living quarters, hospital, canteen, dry store, various laboratories, workshops, gym and various other areas of the Timebase. After a good look at some of the press clippings, commemorative plaques and other paraphernalia on the walls we headed into a laboratory, where there were some great exhibits on show: A forearm from a Tyrannosaurus, various dinosaur brains, an Alamosaurus heart, various bugs and even dinosaur droppings!!! Many of these items could be handled, making it a real educational environment.

From here we then went on to see the autopsy of an Alamosaurus: This included the removal of some internal organs and the sawing off of the cranial plate, to expose the brain. Luckily the autopsy took lace behind a glass screen, so we were in no danger of getting covered in blood.

The hatchery was next, on the experience, where we could see various dinosaur nests. While we were there a baby Dilophoraptor hatched, which they named Keilyn Raptor, after the birthday girl herself.

The animal labs, nocturnal and daylight, were next, before we headed up to the Lookout Platform. 

With huge windows and touchscreen information terminals, there was much to see and do. While we watching the dinosaurs, in their natural habitat, a vehicle outside one of the windows was attacked by a pair of Ankylosaurus. The vehicle suffered some severe damage and its occupants were forced to leave the burning X90 CTP. Our guides, who realised what was happening, dispatched some men in Hazmat suits to rescue the stranded visitors. At this point a pride of Tyrannosaurus approached the Timebase and we were hurriedly forced to evacuate.

While some guides led us through some dark tunnels, other guides, armed to the teeth, stayed behind to buy us some escape time. We headed into a lift that took us down to sub level 4, where, we headed in to another corridor. The roof of this corridor was made of glass, giving an amazing view of an underwater world. However, we soon forced to crouch low to the ground as a Prognathodon peered down at us, no doubt thinking we were food.

Soon, though, we made our way to the emergency escape pods which, after a minor technical issue, returned us to 2018.

Dinosaurs in the Wild is part educational, part expedition, but 100% awesome. Suitable for all ages, although some very young children may find some of the expedition a bit scary, I would thoroughly recommend it as a destination.

Friday, 27 April 2018

ZSL London Zoo

Sumatran Tigers, Jae Jae and Melati
The Sumatran Tiger, Jae Jae, cuddles his mate, Melati, in Tiger Territory.
ZSL London Zoo is one of the best zoos in the country, if not the world. It is a place that is constantly evolving, which offers something new on each visit. It is a place that all of my children love, regardless of their age on each visit.

With the Snowdon Aviary being the next big regeneration project, I cannot wait to see what happens after its completion.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Famous Londoners: Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

Blue Plaque for Elizabeth Garrett Anderson
First female doctor, first female member of a school board and first female mayor and magistrate in Britain.
Working, as I do, for the National Health Service, I have a developed a fascination with the history of hospitals, especially the buildings themselves, and of the pioneering staff who worked in them.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Viewing London

A sunset and St. Paul's Cathedral from One New Change
Sunset behind St. Paul's Cathedral, taken from One New Change.
With the Unfinished City constantly changing, as new buildings are added to its skyline on an almost yearly basis, it becomes increasingly difficult to find the perfect spots from which to see these remarkable buildings, from either up close and personal, or from an unobscured vantage point.

Thankfully, London has a number of great vantage points from which you can see some remarkable views, many of which are free, or fairly cheap.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

30 St. Mary Axe (The Gherkin)

30 St. Mary Axe, aka The Gherkin
Strange Fruit.
30 St. Mary Axe is one of the most striking examples of contemporary architecture, in the City of London, and is one of my favourite buildings in the area. With its triangular and diamond shaped glass panels it offers some truly unique photographic opportunities, regardless of whether it is sunny or overcast.

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