Mon­ster queues

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

The huge re­sponse to Te Manawa’s mov­ing di­nosaur dis­play has mu­seum bosses pre­dict­ing their best ever ex­hibit.

Te Manawa’s Andy Lowe said he was­gob­s­macked by the huge school hol­i­day re­sponse to Di­nosaur En­counter.

So far more than 800 peo­ple a day are queu­ing to see the an­i­ma­tronic ex­hibit flown in di­rect from the Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum in Lon­don. ‘‘It’s un­prece­dented.’’ At this rate, the di­nosaur show­case that opened on Satur­day, Septem­ber 24 and runs un­til Fe­bru­ary in the mu­seum’s MacDiarmid Gallery is well on track to sur­pass any pre­vi­ous Te Manawa ex­hi­bi­tion.

Lowe said the most peo­ple Te Manawa has had for any one oc­ca­sion were the 3700 who turned up over five hours for the first pre-Christ­mas night mar­ket in 2012.

About 11,000 at­tended dur­ing the three months of the re­cent Frida Kahlo ex­hi­bi­tion.

Lowe said other big ex­hi­bi­tions such as 2007’s Da Vinci Ma­chines and The Ro­man Ma­chines in 2013 had pulled about 10,000 and 6000 vis­i­tors re­spec­tively. Di­nosaur En­counter is aim­ing for 20,000.

Te Manawa’s Mag­gie Vine said staff were only let­ting 45 to 50 peo­ple into the gallery at a time.

This was to make sure there was enough space for vis­i­tors to take videos and pho­tos, for small chil­dren to be able to see, and out of safety con­sid­er­a­tions.

Av­er­age times spent in the ex­hi­bi­tion are be­tween 20 and 30 min­utes, while ac­cord­ing to Te Manawa’s Face­book page, the queues could be be­tween 30 and 40 min­utes.

While re­ac­tion to the di­nosaurs had been great, the num­bers had staff scram­bling last week to pro­vide ad­di­tional en­ter­tain­ment for those in line, where some peo­ple re­ported wait­ing for an hour.

‘‘It is a di­nosaur-sized awe­some prob­lem to solve and I love it,’’ Lowe said.

‘‘I am get­ting young ac­tors to be in di­nosaur suits to en­ter­tain the crowds.’’

He said there were di­nosaur ex­hibits in six other lo­ca­tions around Te Manawa.

They in­clude a dio­rama in the en­trance­way, an out­door fos­sil dig, a dis­play, as well as a 10-minute film ded­i­cated to ama­teur palaeon­tol­o­gist Joan Wif­fen, who was re­spon­si­ble for dis­cov­er­ing that New Zealand once had di­nosaurs.

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

‘Rex’ moves, bites and en­ter­tains those queu­ing at Te Manawa.

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