Kilkenny may be associated with cats, but locals and visitors will soon be able to meet a more exotic species: dinosaurs.
Jurassic Newpark’ is a €250,000, interactive experience featuring life-sized, robotic dinosaurs that move and roar at the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny City.
The four-star hotel is bringing the “prehistoric habitat” to its 25 acres of parkland from late July, with several dinosaurs including the fearsome T-Rex, as well as a Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Brachiosaurus and Velociraptor.
You may spot some dinosaur eggs, too.
“I am delighted to announce our successful venture into paleo-genetic engineering, a little skill we picked up during lockdown,” jokes general manager Paul Beehan.
“So far everything is going really well since they arrived on site – no raptors have escaped into the kitchen and the T-Rex hasn’t swallowed any of our staff.”
Bookings are available for Jurassic Newpark from July 27.
It will be free to hotel guests, with tickets otherwise costing €11pp. Children under the age of two go free, and family rates are available from €35.
Jurassic Newpark will see dinosaurs located in enclosures and paddocks linked with accessible trails.
“Park Rangers” will give informative talks about the creatures, and there will be photo ops along the way.
Preparations for the dino-themed attractions involved major landscaping work and planting designed to create “an authentic prehistoric feel”, the hotel says.
The dinosaurs were sourced in China and are made of “a foamed material and covered with a steel structure”.
The project will create 10 new jobs, it adds.
It follows the opening of ‘Dino Dash’, a 260m, dinosaur-themed rollercoaster that launched this year at Tayto Park and is capable of reaching speeds of 50kmh.
Kilkenny’s dinosaurs will join existing animals on the hotel’s farm, including llamas, alpacas, emus, highland cattle, ducks and guinea fowl… though hopefully not snacking on them.
Guests booked in for the coming weeks may get a sneak preview as they explore the Flynn Hotel Collection property’s existing nature and fairy trails.
The hotel has a reputation for family-friendly creativity, with other amenities including an adventure playground, go-kart track, swimming pool, games room and kids’ club offering yoga, build-a-bear workshops and movie nights.
Family breaks this summer start from €648 for two adults and two children staying two nights in a classic room, on a B&B basis, with one dinner included.
For more, see jurassicnewpark.com.
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