This Ain’t Toto’s Africa

I hope someone else catches that 80’s reference so I’m not the only corny nerd here.

The map says “[y]our African safari will take you from dense forests to wide-open grasslands. Plan on two to three hours to tour the Africa region.” What they failed to mention though, is that the visit starts out in an Africa from millions of years ago instead of present day.

Running from April through October, Time Warner Cable has sponsored a dinosaur exhibit as the lead in to the Africa section. Despite the fact that dinosaurs are normally a museum or natural history thing, it was really well done and blended in nicely to the rest of the zoo.

6 year old me would have been pumped up.

First up, the stegosaurus and ceratosaurus.


The ceratosaurus wasn’t really chasing the stegosaurus, despite how cool that looks when the pictures are put next to one another.

The brachiosaurus, and euoplocephalus followed. Brachiosaurus apparently means “arm lizard” and is named that because its front legs are longer than the hind ones. In addition to having an awesome name, the euoplocephalus is pretty much the Hummer of dinosaurs. A real H1 at that. Not the fake H2 or H3 versions.


Then the compsognathus (also known as the annoying little compies from the Jurassic Park movie) and triceratops.


And of course, you can’t have a dinosaur exhibit without having a massive tyrannosaurus rex at the center of everything. It roared. It moved. It even had a nest of babies that moved and growled.


Further along, the dimetrodon and therizinosaurus. The dimetrodon, instead of having some cool name that accentuates its huge, awesome fin, actually means “two different types of teeth.” How uncool is that? Congratulations on essentially being known as the orthodontist of dinosaurs. Making up for the name-coolness factor though, the therizinosaurus means “scythe lizard.” Bring on the death, Dinosaur Scissorhands!


And wrapping up the dead animals, we ran into the dilophosaurus and apatosaurus. The dilophosaurus, another dinosaur made famous in Jurassic Park, was moving like the T-Rex but it was also shooting water at all of the people who walked by it. Despite the nameplate choosing to highlight that there is no fossil evidence or proof that this dinosaur actually was able to spit, the zoo decides to accent it. Nice. Finally, a piece of my childhood died when reading about the apatosaurus. Remember mourning when you found out Pluto was no longer a planet? Well prepare yourselves… The apatosaurus is really the brontosaurus. Since the apatosaurus was the first name given at discovery, it means there’s technically no such dinosaur as the brontosaurus. RIP big guy.


Check back in tomorrow for the live animals.

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2 Responses to This Ain’t Toto’s Africa

  1. Karen says:

    Oh no you don’t… There is still a brontosaurus! I insist!

    And also… I bless the rains down in Africa… How could I ever forget?

    • I really wanted to work in “Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti” just because of how awkward the line really is in the song. But no luck.

      The brontosaurus topic was actually an answer on Jeopardy yesterday. If Alex says it’s so, it must be.

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