Entertainment & Events

San Diego Zoo opens “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs – The 4-D Experience” with actress Keke Palmer

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The legendary San Diego Zoo, along with 20th Century Fox, opened up a new attraction on Saturday, May 19. 2012, “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs – The 4-D Experience.” The opening was filled with snacks, up-close-and-personal introductions to some fascinating animals, actress Keke Palmer (“Akeelah and the Bee” and “Joyful Noise”) on hand to talk about her role as Peaches in the upcoming “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” and so much more!

With the theater placed right beside the 7.5 acre Elephant Odyssey, the morning began with snacks and beverages, including cookies picturing Sid the Sloth, fruit and yogurt parfait, a plethora of pastries, coffee, and orange juice. To celebrate the “Ice Age” experience, snow blanketed a small portion of the elephant’s enclosure, allowing people to enjoy a late breakfast while watching the elephants investigate the cold flakes at their feet. Snow was also on hand for kids to play in, giving a very unique photo op for parents nearby.

Visitors also got to meet some very special and unique animals, presented by Zoo handlers who were on hand to answer any and all questions about their little friends. Hanging out on his own little tree was Tipu the Tamandua, named after the type of tree in Brazil where he would be found in the wild. Zoo handler Jessica played and interacted with him to show all of his unique traits, including his incredibly long tongue and prehensile tail.

Making the rounds was also Armando Santiago the Three Banded Armadillo and Baba the White Bellied Tree Pangalin. Taken care of by Zoo handler April, Armando Santiago was perhaps the most popular of the crowd due to his awe-inspiring way of rolling into a complete ball before your very eyes, fitting together like a puzzle. Found in South America, specifically Paraguay and Bolivia, Armando was quite the attention seeker. Not to be outdone, however, Baba displayed some pretty unique traits of his own, including strange scales covering his entire body and some body hair that rivals that of Robin Williams. With only two Pangolin’s in captivity in North America, Baba is incredibly hard to care for due to his specialized diet and care needs, making him one of the San Diego Zoo’s off-exhibit wards. With Baba’s Zoo handler Nate making sure Baba was happy, it was a pleasure to be able to see such a rare and unique creature up close.

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Amidst all of the animals, actress Keke Palmer was signing posters for fans. Voicing Peaches, the newest addition to the wooly mammoth family in “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” Palmer was excited and thrilled to be at the 4-D Experience opening. After meeting Armando Santiago, Baba, and Tipu, Palmer prepared to give her speech as Rod Ringer, senior elephant keeper, and Bob Dillon, Director of Operations at the Zoo, introduced the event.

Palmer’s speech was well-delivered and sweet, saying:

I’ve always been an animal lover and advocate but I have a special connection with the elephants and the mammoths because of my role as Peaches the wooly mammoth in the new film “Ice Age 4: Continental Drift” in theatres in 3-D July 13th. Although many of the animals in Ice Age films are extinct, the San Diego Zoo conservation team, active for nearly 100 years, are working to keep many animals from sharing their same fate. Today, the San Diego Zoo in partnership with 20th Century Fox and iWorks Entertainment welcomes you to experience their latest attraction, the US premier of “Ice Age 4: Dawn of the Dinosaur – The 4-D Experience”, which I love. I wish it were even longer because I enjoyed it that much. The San Diego Zoo with the new “Ice Age” 4-D experience is a great place where family and friends can visit and learn a little more about the conservation of animals and interact with them in new ways.

After a photo op with Scrat and Sid the Sloth, a Q&A, and ribbon cutting, “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs – The 4-D Experience” was officially open.

Starring Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo), wooly mammoth’s Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah), saber toothed tiger Diego (Denis Leary), and the crazed Buck (Simon Pegg), the action is kicked off when Sid finds three dinosaur eggs and decides to raise them as his own children. Once the eggs hatch, Sid is kidnapped by the real mother and the rest of the group is propelled on an adventure that takes them into an underground lost world of dinosaurs.

The 14-minute film, combining scenes from “Ice Age 3” with the best 3-D and specialized physical effects, it’s a completely immersive sensory experience and brings the action right to your face in so many uniquely thrilling ways. The seats rumble, arctic winds blow, snow falls over you, bubbles drift out, air whips lightly at your calves, water’s misted in your face, and authentic scents fill the theater, all synced perfectly with the action onscreen.

While most people go to the San Diego Zoo for the wild animals, don’t let the idea of sitting in a room for 14-minutes turn you off. Costing only $6 for nonmembers and $5 for members, “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs – The 4-D Experience” is well worth the time. Not only will it be a very welcome respite from the San Diego heat, it will allow you and your family a once-in-a-lifetime sensory experience that you’ll want to enjoy over and over again!

Check out a video of the elephants enjoying some snow!

All photos by Mila Pantovich.

Mila Pantovich runs her own blog, Reel Obsession, where all of her articles can be found.


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