Photos by Sarah Jamal Photography
This past weekend, Niagara Families was lucky enough to check out the new dinosaur exhibit at Skylon Tower, “Battle of the Titans”. After we toured the exhibit, we enjoyed a ride up to the observation deck at the top of Skylon, a first for all of us. Here’s what we have to say!
As regular readers know, our kids are 8 and 10 years old (our girls) and our little man is 18 months. Battle of the Titans scored major points by offering something to captivate the imaginations of all of these kids, plus the three adults who came along as escorts. Kudos to a scientific exhibit where I can unleash my rambunctious toddler!
Titans centres around a battle between the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex and the stalwart Triceratops and as the contest wages, we discover many fascinating facts about these fierce creatures and their descendants, including (to my kids’ delight) how much they pooped in a day.
The exhibit was well laid out. The displays were attractive with clear, easy to read, interesting facts at each stop. I had some difficulty hearing the video portions of the exhibit, which were mostly for us older kids. The people at Battle of the Titans are working to fix this, which is great, because the videos seemed really interesting and well-produced. They seemed to be like a live video conference with the scientist experts who knew all there was to know about the dinosaurs.
The models of the dinos were attractive and realistic. The scale was awesome, and our little guy seemed a bit gobsmacked when he realized how big a real dinosaur was. Quite different from the lads on TV’s Dinosaur Train. The kids didn’t seem to care that the fossils weren’t all real – a few were – but the replicas were so convincing that they were just as happy with those, plus they could touch them. Kids love touching things!
I thought the pacing was good. There was enough information for the kids to learn something, but the exhibit moved on to the super cool animatronic dinos before the kids were no longer engaged. It was also easy to keep track of our free-range toddler, which honestly is the key deciding factor in whether or not I get to have fun too.
The animatronic dinosaurs were pretty impressive. Their motion was fluid, and they looked very realistic. The girls were fascinated, and the baby was amazed. He got a little bit scared by the T-Rex and Triceratops at the end, but every time he’d ask us to take him away, he’d stare for a little while and then want to go back for more. The dinos roar and shriek, but I didn’t find it overly loud, and neither did the kids.
Kids love hands-on interaction, and it helps them retain new information and get excited about the subject matter at hand. I thought there was just enough interaction along the way with life-sized dinosaur skulls to climb up into and peer through, and a very cool antique mutoscope which pre-dated film, and is sort of like a box with a crank and a light inside that acts like a flip book when you turn the handle. At the end of the exhibit, there was more fun with crayon rubbings, archeological digging (the baby could have stayed there all day), an interactive 3D puzzle screen, and a chance to operate a robotic dino head on your own. So smart to leave the real play to the end so that the kids can make a game of gathering interesting facts.
Parents, when you bring your kids to a museum, or a scientific exhibit, be prepared to engage them. Kids are naturally fascinated by learning, but they need a bit of help getting drawn in, especially in this era of screen-time and instant gratification. You need to be prepared to point out highlights and facts you think are cool, and to ask them interesting questions to get their little brains whirring. I think that’s why I love these kinds of experiences. It’s so much fun to discover things together, and find ways to contextualize the information and make it meaningful to the little ones – even if that means a ten minute discussion about dino poop. Our girls were inspired, and eventually made their own game of “paleontologists travelling through time”. Adorable.
For my money, Battle of the Titans was time well spent. Even though I wouldn’t describe my kids as big dinosaur nerds, they all had a great time, and we cover a fairly broad age range. If you have a little guy or gal who is really into dinosaurs, this activity is a no-brainer.
We also got to try a ride up the elevator to the observation deck at Skylon Tower. By this time, the baby was sound asleep in his stroller, so I stayed on the indoor deck, but the girls hopped outside into the wild wind with daddy. I enjoyed the view from where I was, too, and what a view it is. I don’t think there is a better way to see both of the falls. The girls loved the incredible wind, it was a particularly breezy day, and I imagine that it must be a lovely way to cool down on a balmy summer’s day. The elevator ride to the top of the tower is included when you dine at either the Revolving Dining Room or the more kid-friendly Summit Suite Buffet.
Want to get the best deal on these two awesome Niagara Falls attractions? Here’s the advice from the experts:
Purchase tickets online at www.skylon.com where you can receive $1.00 off all attractions and combo rates for all attractions as well as family passes.
Look for the “Bite a Buck” brochure (coming very soon) in brochure racks in hotels and information centers. This brochure features $1 off coupons and there are some $2 off promotions as well.
Battle of the Titans
Adult $11.95 +tax
Child $9.95 +tax
Family Pass 34.95 +tax (2 adults & 2 children)
HOURS OF OPERATION
Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays
9am – 10pm