Designed with families and schools in mind, the playground will invite children of all ages to ‘become’ a dinosaur hunter. Accompanied by the Digital Field Guide, you will have your own palaeontologist in your pocket to guide as you climb, crawl, investigate, dig, discover, swing, search, slide, glide and play your way through the zones. As you explore Research HQ, Ankylosaur Gully and Fossil Scramble, you will quickly realise that this is no ordinary playground. Dino Hunters is a cross between an adventure playground, art installation, outdoor learning space and hands-on exhibition; and all in one.
Dinosaur hunters use current, cutting-edge science to find, excavate, prepare, identify, name and reconstruct fossils. This fascinating process has captured people’s imagination for decades, and it’s still happening today. New discoveries continue to be made along the Bass Coast. Inverloch will act as the beginning, or the end, to the Bass Coast Dinosaurs Trail. So, it’s the perfect location to explore scientific inquiry and discovery that underpins the entire Dinosaurs Trail. What better way to explore the world of palaeontology and polar dinosaurs than through science, art and imagination.
"The Dino Hunters Playground is an immersive and exciting landscape for all ages to enjoy. The design is rooted in the Bass Coast’s rich Palaeohistory, and weaves together wonder, science and imaginative play. It seeks to excite the senses, promote discovery and captivate all visitors. A truly exciting and unique project to conceptualise. Whether it be getting lost in a past world, the excitement of dino-discovery, or clambering over the many challenging spaces, there will be something for everyone to enjoy."
Orchard Landscape Design
The fun begins the moment you arrive. You meet a virtual palaeontologist who invites you to become a dino hunter, just like them. Your first challenge will be to find the Cape Patterson Claw, Australia’s first dinosaur fossil found that was found nearby. With your first discovery under your palaeontological belt, you head off to the Gondwana balance challenge. Exploring the moving tectonic plates, you discover that understanding how the world has changed is an important part of being a dinosaur hunter. Once your briefing is complete, you head through the rock walls, beneath the giant Gingko leaves, and out into the Dino Hunters playground.
Ladder, ramp or climbing net – which way will you choose to enter Research HQ? Once inside, you will have a view across the entire site, and a map to help plan your adventure. Climb to the top for the ultimate view, then slide back down to explore the rest of the playground. Before you go, hone your research skills by solving puzzles and finding fossils. Special viewing scopes will show you what the Bass Coast may have looked like 125 million years ago, complete with living, digital dinosaurs. You can revisit Research HQ as often as you like. When you need a break, head downstairs to the hammocks and swings. Even the best dino hunters need a rest!
Dino hunters are always trying to understand what life was like for dinosaurs. When you venture into Ankylosaur Gully’s cool, mist-filled adventure, it will be like you’ve stepped back in time, 125 million years ago. Inside, will come face-to-face with a family of Ankylosaur sculptures. Special viewing scopes bring these life-sized sculptures to life – you may even see an Ankylosaur egg hatch! The more you explore, the more you’ll discover. Rope tunnels, hidden rooms, a rock-hop path, motion-activated sensors and light projections, mean no two visits to Ankylosaur Gully are the same. Are you ready to step back in time?
A large number of the fossils found along the Bass Coast have been discovered nearby, at Flat Rocks. Now, it’s your turn. Wind your way to the top of Flat Rocks for water play. Or, follow the stream down, to see how water erodes and exposes fossils. It’s not only bones that become fossils. Dino hunters use trace fossils including footprints, leaves, burrows and poo (yes, poo!) to learn about the past. In fact, 150 dinosaur footprints have been found along the Bass Coast. Just like dino hunters, you will have to be a detective, piecing together these ancient clues. What will you discover buried at Flat Rocks?
Dinosaur hunters are experts at finding fossils. They know what to look for and, where to look. It’s a bit like a rocky treasure hunt! Fossil Scramble is your fossil-finding training zone. Explore the forest to find fossils embedded in rock. Each fossil is a cast of a real fossil that has been discovered along the Bass Coast. Once you’ve found a fossil, use the Digital Field Guide to identify your discovery. Be sure to look for the special ‘hero dinosaur’ fossil. This is a holotype fossil, the fossil used to originally identify the Ankylosaur. Just like the real fossil, it won’t be easy to find.
Life began on Earth millions of years before dinosaurs – that’s ancient! Dinosaur hunters are experts in geological time, but it can be hard to tell the Cretaceous from the Jurassic. That’s where the Time Tunnel comes in. Whether you skip, walk, climb or run, you’ll discover how life has evolved over millions of years. Just as evolution can be a bit tricky, so too is the Time Tunnel. There will be puzzles to solve, and obstacles to overcome. Portals to the past help you along your way; revealing when polar dinosaurs lived, and when humans first appeared. There’s never been a better way to travel through time.
Do you know an Ankylosaur from a Pterosaur? Dino hunters know all about different dinosaurs. They know how to tell them apart, and how they evolved. As you navigate the Solve-a-saurus maze, you’ll discover the different dinosaurs found along Bass Coast. What sounds cdid they make? What did they eat? What did they look like? But, the real secret of the Solve-a-saurus maze is that dinosaurs are still alive today! Follow the fossil feathers through the maze to solve this incredible mystery. Then, you can take flight, or play in the giant nest swing, just like today’s dinosaurs – birds.