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Here's What We Saw at SDCC's Jurassic Park 30-Year Anniversary Experience

Amber and Raptors and toilets, oh my!

By Caitlin Busch

Hold on to your butts! San Diego Comic-Con and Universal Pictures partnered up to bring the mother of all Jurassic Park experiences to SDCC 2023 — all without having to fly to Isla Nublar — to celebrate the film's 30-year anniversary.

For those who weren't able to attend the much-anticipated activation, we have you covered.

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With John Williams' seminal Jurassic Park theme blasting, fans started at Dr. Ellie Sattler and Dr. Alan Grant's excavation tent, where movie-goers first met the iconic duo in 1993. From there, it's a race through an overgrown jungle complete with flashing lights, thunder, and hungry dinosaurs just waiting to get their next snack.

Enthusiastic guides donned in the classic Jurassic Park khakis were taken aback by how John Hammond's dinosaurs could have possibly escaped their enclosures. The mosquitos trapped in amber and the Velociraptor eggs were harmless enough, as was the suspiciously damaged Velociraptor enclosure. 

The guides reassured guests that while the Raptors do have a taste for human flesh, the majority of their "very balanced diet" consisted of goats and cows. No worries!

It turned out it wasn't the raptors guests needed to worry about (at first), though!

After turning a corner, guests were confronted by a giant Tyrannosaurus rex baring its teeth and ready to take a chomp out of any poor individual who dared to take a bathroom break.

After narrowly escaping the hungry T.rex (but with its roars still echoing in their ears), the enclosure's victims – er, guests were met by an angry and particularly clever Raptor who'd managed to open the kitchen door and was bent on making a meal out of one of the guides.

"I didn't think they could open doors but I definitely saw this one solve a Rubik's cube the other day," he joked while cowering against the counter just out of reach of the Raptor's claws.

Ducking under a nearby branch brought guests to the control panel, where pushing a series of buttons provided an exit. And guests were finally able to let out a sigh of relief after surviving the harrowing journey through Jurassic Park. 

(Editor's Note: All our best to the poor guides still trapped in the activation. May Jeff Goldblum have mercy on their souls.)

In addition to the in-world theatrics and, plaques throughout the activation provided fun facts about the film on which it's based. One nearby the Raptor enclosure read: "The location fo the island where all the action takes place was supposed to be off the coast of Costa Rica. The actual location where most of the filming took place was Kauai, apart from the shots of the cage coming through the trees on a forklift, filmed later at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. Award Winning Sound designer Gary Rydstrom took his first steps into Jurassic Park with one of the main tasks to develop a sonic personality for the Velociraptors. The 'snarls' made by the creatures, from a storytelling perspective, [developed because] the raptors needed their own language. 'Raptors had to sound smart and they had to communicate,' he says. 'They had different kinds of feelings, and they were hunters and thoughtful.' For the lower end of the scale, he recorded walrus noises. 'The scream of the dolphin — which is not your "Flipper" sound, it's a pretty horrific scream — became the key element of the attack scream for the raptors.' The unnerving sound of hissing geese was also thrown into the mix." 

After making their way out, guests were greeted by a seating area with a gift shop, complimentary dinosaur chicken nuggets, dinosaur-themed boxes of water, and most exciting of all, a baby Raptor.

While her handlers explained that Mr. Hammond doesn't like to name the dinosaurs — they're wild animals, not pets, after all — the younger ones are often useful as teaching assistants. The little girl guests got to meet has a bite far worse than her bark, they explained, as she chittered away in their arms, her head turning, eyes blinking.

Keep an eye on SYFY WIRE for further SDCC 2023 coverage!