Walk with the dinosaurs as ‘The Jurassic Encounter’ roars into Northern Virginia

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews The Jurassic Encounter (Part 1)

Dinosaurs are returning from extinction with The Jurassic Encounter in Northern Virginia.

The outdoor walk-through dinosaur exhibit is the first of its kind at the Bull Run Events Center, home of the Annual Bull Run Festival of Lights, now through May 30 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“Everyone loves dinosaurs,” Dr. Jane Bone Diggity told WTOP. The exhibit has more than 78 animatronic and still dinosaurs of all sizes. “We have bones, big guys, little tiny babies that are hatching.”

You can even train a dinosaur.

“We have five baby dinosaurs that you can train. They know some tricks — they’re still babies, so they’re still learning,” Bone Diggity said. “We have an adolescent T-Rex that you can train, make him roar, turn around, catch a ball. He’s pretty cool. His name is Tiny.”

Rather than an indoor events complex, this is an outdoor experience in nature.

“It’s like you’re walking with the dinosaurs outside with trees and grass,” Bone Diggity said. “You can get up close and personal with the dinosaurs and take all kinds of selfies. … All of our dinosaurs are really nice. My carnivores, the meat eaters … they don’t eat children or anything like that.”

You can go through the exhibit as quickly or slowly as you want. “If they want to download the app and walk through the event and answer the questions — they’re geo-located to each dinosaur — that can take up to an hour or hour and a half. If you just want to speed walk it, it can take 30 minutes — but most people are here usually an hour and a half to two hours.”

Tickets are $19 per person with options for add-on prize packs with dinosaur souvenirs for kids.

Food trucks will be on site every Wednesday though Sunday. There’s also a bouncy house, games, shopping and other fun.

Movie lovers can enjoy free dino screenings of “The Land Before Time” (1988) this Friday and “Jurassic Park” (1993) this Saturday on a large screen outdoors. They’ll have popcorn, lemonade and water. You can bring a blanket and chairs and snacks.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews The Jurassic Encounter (Part 2)

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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