Hundreds of millions of years after they roamed southern Alberta, Calgarians are getting another chance to see dinosaurs on the move.
And for a couple of hardcore dino-lovers, bringing the prehistoric creatures back to life is a dream come true.
Dustin Baker, a.k.a Dino Dustin, and Sarah Menard, a.k.a. Safari Sarah, are dinosaur trainers with the Jurassic Quest event that’s running in Calgary from Friday Sunday at the BMO Centre at Stampede Park.
Baker operates an elaborate hand puppet of Trixie, a baby Triceratops, while Menard handles Tyson, a baby T-Rex puppet.
The two dinosaur trainers interact with visitors, with crowds also getting the chance to check out a huge herd of animatronic dinosaurs and several other attractions.
“So it’s actually not just educational, but it’s really fun and kind of magical too,” Menard said.
Introducing their puppets to visitors is a dream come true for the handlers, a dream that started when they were kids.
“I was obsessed with dinosaurs. I watched movies and TV and saw them,” Menard said. “It was just the coolness of a dinosaur.”
Baker was also a big fan of dinosaur movies while growing up.
“It felt like fantasy,” Baker said. “I think when you see dinosaurs you’re like, ‘Wow, there’s no way that that was real on Earth.’ It’s been incredible, an incredible adventure, learning about dinosaurs.
What I really love is that no matter how different people and cultures are, everywhere we go, there’s one thing that’s the same, and that’s the love of dinosaurs.”
Of all the stops on the Jurassic Quest tour, Calgary being in an area where the handlers can follow in the dinosaurs’ footsteps in their old stamping grounds is a favourite.
“We were able to go to Drumheller and that was really cool for us,” Menard said.
“It’s an amazing place to be, just so much history, so many fossils were found here,” Baker said. “It’s so awesome, to be in a place that loves dinosaurs as much as we do.”
Tickets for Jurassic Quest can be purchased on the event site.