There will be adventures of pre-historic proportions as the Daintree Discovery Centre (DDC) steps back in time more than 65 million years ago with the opening of its two newest attractions – The Jurassic Forest and Interpretive Centre.
Daintree Discovery Centre director Ron Birkett said The Jurassic Forest would transport visitors to a time when giant carnivorous dinosaurs and mega fauna roamed the ancient rainforests of Queensland.
A seven-metre long Ripper Lizard, a Giant Thunderbird and a dynamic Diprotodon are among the life-size animated creatures on display at the new state-of-the-art exhibit, which has been completed at a cost of more than $250,000.
“Dinosaurs have an important role to play in helping visitors understand and appreciate the incredible age of the Daintree.
“We don’t know why the dinosaurs disappeared but many scientists believe it was due to cataclysmic changes in the climate.
“The new Interpretive Centre helps to explain how climate change affects the environment and the role it played in the extinction of dinosaurs.”
The seven dinosaurs and mega fauna on display are believed to be the remnants of a special group that lived in various parts of Queensland around the Jurassic Period.
“They have been built around scientific data and the best we can tell are realistic replicas,” Mr Birkett added.
“They were imported from overseas and staff at the Discovery Centre Centre have been busy installing them over the past few weeks.”
Mr Birkett said The Jurassic Forest and the Interpretive Centre was just another example of the Daintree Discovery Centre’s ongoing work to add to the visitor experience.
Opened to the public in 1989, The Daintree Discovery Centre is recognised as a world-leader in eco-tourism and is a major attraction north of the Daintree River.
“Visitors are on holidays and generally want to be entertained and there is nothing more exciting than dinosaurs to get their imaginative juices flowing.
“Everyone loves a dinosaur, but ours carry an added bonus – they will remind people about the fragility of the environment and the need for us to do what we can to protect it.
“Not only that, their tails wag, their arms move and their claws look like they are going to reach out and grab you. Watch out as you approach them, they may just let out a gentle roar.”
Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree executive officer Tara Bennett said the opening of the Daintree Discovery Centre’s newest attraction would certainly be a hit for travellers.
“What a wonderful surprise – not only do visitors have the opportunity to learn about the oldest living rainforest on the planet, they now have the added bonus of seeing what these giant creatures of the rainforest may have looked like millions of years ago in an innovative and interactive way.”
Ms Bennett recommended those visiting north of the Daintree River to allow at least two nights for their stay.
“Along with the Daintree Discovery Centre there are some great attractions to experience and more than a day is needed to truly immerse yourself in the rainforest,” she said.