FAQ's About "Dino Doc"
Are the hosts in the show real keepers or actors?
The hosts were selected by audition, but they aren't just actors. They all share a real interest in animals and a love of performing.
Is this show and the dinosaurs too scary for little kids?
Every child is different. It is impossible to predict an individual child's reaction to large, realistic-looking dinosaurs. If you think your child might be fearful, consider sitting further back from the stage.
Where can I find out when the shows are scheduled?
“Dino Doc” performances scheduled on weekends at 12:00 & 3:00 p.m.
Show times may change, so check the schedule when you arrive at the Zoo. Please be aware that dinosaurs does not appear in the rain. They don't like to get wet.
It is ok to photograph and/or videotape the dinosaurs and the show?
Absolutely take photos or videos during the show! There is also a five-minute period at the end of each show for photos of the dinosaurs with your children.
Why doesn't the Zoo use a real animal in this or another show?
The Zoo has "ambassador" animals that come out to meet the public. We've had such shows in the past and there may be a show in the future featuring one or more of those animals. But for now, this is the only show.
Do Zoo animals really get medical exams?
Every animal at the Zoo receives an annual check-up, just like people do, but how each exam is conducted depends on the species. Some Zoo animals have been trained, using positive reinforcement, to stand in a certain location so their hearts can be listened to, for example, or to present a certain body part to be examined. “Dino Doc” explains a lot more about this, and how veterinarians treat common – and unusual – ailments and illnesses.
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About the Zoo's Dinosaurs
How big are the dinosaurs and what do they weigh?
Duncan is 15.5 feet long and 7 feet tall when his head is raised. He weighs 75 pounds (not counting his operator). Lily is even bigger – she’s 16 feet long and 10 feet tall, but weighs about the same. The baby triceratops is very little –small enough for her handlers to hold in their arms.
How are the dinosaurs’ scientific names pronounced and what do they mean?
Triceratops (try-SERRA-tops) means “three-horned head.” Parasaurolophus (para-saw-ROLL-off-uss) means “crested lizard." Tyrannosaurus Rex (tie-ran-owe-SORE-uss rex) means “tyrant reptile.”
Is there someone inside the big dinosaurs controlling them? Isn't the baby triceratops really a puppet?
We want our younger guests to enjoy the illusion of real dinosaurs, so please don't tell them there is really someone inside them.
How come I can see the legs of the person inside Duncan's and Lily's costumes?
We wish we could find someone with legs that look just like a dinosaur's, but until we do, the operator's legs will be visible. We've also discovered that some kids who are frightful become less so when they "see" Duncan's and Lily's human legs.
Where do the sounds that Duncan and Lily make come from?
The operators inside Duncan & Lily have voice synthesizers allowing them to make a variety of sounds. Notice the different the sounds made by Duncan (his are deeper and more growly, more like a predator) and by Lily (more high pitched, almost bird-like).
Are there other dinosaurs at the Zoo besides Duncan?
Why is the T. Rex named Duncan and the duckbill named Lily?
Duncan is an only child. The Zoo doesn't have plans for any other dinosaurs at this time.
He was named by some very generous Zoo donors, a.k.a. the Duncan Family. They also named Lily in honor of Lillian Child, the woman who donated her estate – where the Zoo now stands -- to benefit the Santa Barbara community. Many Zoo animals can be named or sponsored.
What are Duncan and Lily made of?
A backpack holds the lightweight aluminum frame that forms their skeletons. Foam was used to construct muscles and tendons. Everything was covered by a "skin" of custom manufactured fabric that is dyed, then hand-sewed on and custom painted. The operator wears the backpack and is able to control their heads and jaws; eye blinks are run by a computer program. A video monitor allows the operator inside to see ahead via images from a pinhole video camera. The operator also wears a headset that allows them to make sounds through a voice synthesizer.
Who designed Duncan?
The Hollywood "creature shop" Choido (KEY-oh-do) Brothers designed and built Duncan. They've done animatronics, live-action puppetry, stop-motion animation, and other special effects for movies like "Elf," "Dinner for Schmucks," "Screamers," "Gremlins" and others. The actual designer was once the supervisor of the Jim Henson Creature Shop.
How much did Duncan cost?
He cost less than a brontosaurus and more than a pterodactyl. Seriously, much of the cost for all three dinosaurs was underwritten by several generous sponsors, including the Duncan Family, who are the naming sponsors.
What is Duncan's poop made of?
It is a nontoxic recipe that includes water, cooking oil, peat moss, methyl cellulose (thickener used in tooth paste - and in the Ghostbusters' gooey "slime"), vermiculite (natural mineral used as a soil conditioner), and a preservative called Glydant Anti-Microbial.
What does Lily sneeze?
How come the dinosaurs don't sing or talk?
None of the animals at the Zoo sing or talk! We wanted to show how keepers work with our animals - and how they learn to communicate to each other.
Can we see the dinosaurs when they aren't on stage?
Sorry! They are off exhibit except during the shows.
Can Duncan or another dinosaur appear at my/my child's birthday party at the Zoo?
In addition to the show, the dinosaurs make limited appearances at the Zoo for parties and events. Contact
Can we rent Duncan or another dinosaur for an event outside the Zoo?
Sorry! Duncan and friends have to stay at the Zoo and can't be rented by outside groups or individuals.
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FAQ for Younger Guests
Did the dinosaurs come from eggs?
Yes! Dinosaurs hatch from eggs and are reptiles.
Where are the dinosaurs' mommies and daddies?
Duncan's egg was found by itself. It didn't look like his parents were around to take care of it. So it was brought to the Zoo to hatch. Lily’s egg was found a little while ago, and also hatched at the Zoo. The little triceratops just hatched – she’s a baby! Keepers at the Zoo have taken very good care of the dinosaurs and they have lots of friends - like you - who come see them.
Will they try to eat me?
Duncan does eat meat, but he will not eat people. Both Lily and the triceratops eat plants.
Does Duncan try to eat the other animals at the Zoo?
Like most of the predator animals at the Zoo, Duncan is kept in his own space, separate from the other animals.
What does Duncan eat?
T. Rexes were carnivores, meaning that they ate other animals. They were like the Zoo's lions and leopards in that they hunted their prey.
Where do the dinosaurs sleep at night?
They have a special area near the stage where they stay when they aren't in the show. It isn't open to the public and they aren't visible.
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