Ozarks Life: Branson’s Dino Days

More than 40 replica vehicles will be in Branson for Jurassic World: Dominion’s movie opening
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 9:27 AM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - The city of Branson has it all. King Kong. The Titanic. And this weekend... Dinosaurs.

Dino Days returns to the Branson IMAX Entertainment Complex.

“The fact that we’re the IMAX screen,” the theater’s creative director, Becky Blair said, “we are used to doing things bigger, bigger, bigger than everything else. And we wanted to just kind of invite, not just tourists, but the community out for something that’s pretty incredible.”

“We’re just a big group of nerds here,” Jurassic Park Motor Pool membership officer Rob Penna said.

Fellow nerds, closet nerds, and so-called regular folk will be greeted outside the IMAX by the Jurassic Park Motor Pool.

“We are a fan-based club of replicas,” the pool’s event coordinator, Candice Moran said. “So we all have Jurassic Park (vehicle) replicas.”

“We’re expecting 40 to 50 Jurassic Park vehicles,” Penna said about this weekend.

The most popular replica is the 1992 Jeep Wrangler. And each owner has spent years, and a lot of money to make theirs as screen accurate as possible.

“Lots of people spent hours and hours studying screenshots,” Penna said, “and trying to understand what’s the angle? What’s the color? How did this work? And lots of research that went into it.”

“Some of these pieces are hard to find because the Jeeps are from 1992,” Moran said.

“It’s a fun journey,” Penna added. “You’re scouring either junkyards or online or whatever, trying to find the right thing and get it exactly the way you want it.”

This is the group’s second appearance in Branson. The motor pool was here four years ago when the last Jurassic World movie, Fallen Kingdom, was released.

“I was just a spectator taking some photos,” Brandon resident Joe Schlink said about the 2018 Dino Days event. “I just recently bought my Jeep and it had a square headlight. And I said, ‘wow, that’s the same Jeep that I just bought.’ I had some body work done and said, ‘let’s paint it like Jurassic Park.’ And that was four years ago.”

So Joe joined the motor pool and used its online reference guide to find all of the paint, stencils, and parts to make his JP 12. A labor of love finished just in time for his first event this weekend. Which is also a great chance to bounce some ideas off the other members.

“I’ve only seen them on Facebook,” Schlink said. “So it’s really nice to see him in person and converse with them and find out what they did to their Jeep. So I could do something to my jeep. You know, just kind of keep learning from them and keep expanding, and maybe the second one someday.”

But the parking lot is just part of the fun the Branson IMAX has in store for visitors. Past the gates, you can see some fossils and much more whether you have a movie ticket or not.

“You’ll also find tons of kids’ events,” Blair said. “Balloons and face painting and games and contests, coloring stuff. All of that is free.”

“I don’t know anywhere else,” Moran said, “you could just drive down the street and be like, ‘let’s go do that.’ It’s super awesome.”

“I think that’s going to be really exciting for the kids,” Schlink added.

“I kind of see myself in all the little kids,” Penna said, “they come by and go, ‘oh, you know, that’s, that’s really cool.’ And, you know, I was that kid at one point. It’s great.”

DIno Days is on Friday, June 10 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturday, June 11 from noon to 4 p.m. all it’s all free.

For more information on the Jurassic Park Motor Pool, click here for its website, or here for its Facebook page.

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