Home / Local Stories  / Learn: Education & Enrichment  / BIG TIME: Giant Animatronic Dinosaurs Have Arrived at Philadelphia Zoo

BIG TIME: Giant Animatronic Dinosaurs Have Arrived at Philadelphia Zoo

It’s like Jurassic Park, but only the happy parts!

This spring, the Philadelphia Zoo hosts 24 life-size animatronic dinosaurs (and other creatures) in a new and exciting experience that’s sure to be a must-do for any little dino-lover in your family. Big Time: Life in an Endangerous Age takes guests through the Age of Dinosaurs through to the present day, showing the powerful changes and challenges that caused them to become extinct—and how other creatures survived. Big Time runs from March 29 through September 30, and tickets are on sale now.


“Big Time is a dynamic experience that will stimulate the senses and transport guests back in time to walk among dinosaurs like the mighty T.Rex, puts them face-to-face with an enormous Woolly Mammoth, and side-by-side with a life-sized polar bear, elephant and Sumatran rhino – incredible!” said Philadelphia Zoo’s President & CEO Vikram H. Dewan.



The journey features the creatures in realistic settings to put them in context and make the experience even more immersive with evocative sounds and landscapes. The giant T. Rex will roar at you, so prepare little ones for that! Don’t forget your ZooKey (or pick up a special edition dinosaur one!), because throughout the exhibit there will be boxes you can activate in English and Spanish to tell you more about some of the creatures.


First, you’ll visit Volcano Vapors and witness the formidable conditions that wiped out most living things, enabling dinosaurs to evolve and take over—you’ll meet some dinosaurs there, too. Next, Prehistoric Passage will feature popular T.Rex and Triceratops, plus some flying dinosaurs! Asteroid Void takes you 66 million years back to a desolate landscape, the aftermath of the enormous asteroid which struck the Earth wiping out dinosaurs—but you’ll get to meet some creatures that survived, like a car-sized armadillo ancestor and a giant sloth!


The exhibit also examines human evolution and migration, and the effects on nature. You’ll travel to Madagascar and Australia to walk among the species that once roamed the Earth—plus see some that used to live here in North America. Finally, return to present day to meet some endangered species and learn how we can all make a difference to help wildlife here and around the world. And on your way out, don’t miss the special shop with all kinds of toys, clothing, and other dino memorabilia.


Big Time runs from March 29 through September 30. It will be open from 9:30 am to 5 pm daily, and advance tickets are required due to high demand and reduced capacity. Note that while tickets to the Zoo are timed, the add-on Big Time tickets are not, so you have some flexibility with your entrance to the exhibit itself, but that also means that it may get more crowded at times. Tickets are $6 above admission price, so it’s definitely a bargain for Zoo members. Social distancing and masks will continue to be required for guests ages 2 and older.




Photographs by Laura Swartz; video courtesy of the Philadelphia Zoo.

Contributing Writer