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A show for the ages: Dinosaurs invade dome

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For one weekend the Fargodome, the home of North Dakota State University's "Thundering Herd," the Bison, are being replaced with much larger beasts.

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While the first of six shows of "Walking With Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular," didn't have crowds stomping their feet, by the end of the 90-minute show, the sellout crowd of about 5,000 clapped and cheered for the reptiles.

The show is a mix of theater, technology and history as an actor playing a paleontologist named Huxley gives a crash course in the lives and times of dinosaurs millions of years ago.

The show starts with Huxley discussing the Triassic period and moves through the splitting of Pangaea and into the Jurassic period, the time of the big dinosaurs, like the 36-foot-tall, 56-foot-long adult brachiosaurus.

While children made up a good portion of the crowd, adults seemed to also be interested in watching the larger dinosaurs move around the floor, driven around on camouflaged carts and maneuvered by puppeteers.

The first creatures to appear were babies just hatched from eggs, one of which makes a quick meal for a 7-foot Liliensternus, an actor in a foam and rubber suit.

"The story of the dinosaurs isn't always a pretty one," Huxley explained.

Still, the baby beast's early demise didn't seem to bother too many of the kids.

During the 20-minute intermission, Ben Krump, 6, said he liked the allosaurus, the first big predator to appear.

Nine-year-old Nic Haugen held a toy Tyrannosaurus rex, waiting for the lizard king's entrance in the second part of the show. He wouldn't be disappointed.

And it wasn't just the boys who liked the show.

"I loved it," said Grace Nelson, 8, and her 4-year-old sister, Celia, agreed. Sitting in some of the highest seats on the east end of the arena, viewers like the Nelsons could watch some of the action on screens on the opposite side of the floor.

Screens weren't needed for one of the more audible "awww" moments as the crowd sighed as a mama brachiosaurus nuzzled with her young one.

The show even had an "ewww" moment when Huxley thrust his hand into a pile of dino dung, getting reactions from kids and adults in the crowd.

While the show may be the coolest history lesson most kids will get, adults will enjoy the staging and some of the smaller details.

All ages enjoyed the

T. rex, which shows up at the end of the show, visible by the amount of cell phone cameras pulled out for pictures. Rex's roar was enough to get Celia Nelson to clamp her hands over her ears, but its bark was worse than its bite as the whole audience laughed at the comic relief supplied by the baby dinosaur.

If you go

* What: "Walking with the Dinosaurs - The Arena Spectacular"

* When: 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. today and 11 a.m., 3 p.m. Sunday.

* Where: Fargodome, 1800 North University Drive, Fargo

* Tickets: Tickets are $24.50, $34.50, $44.50, $54.50 for performances at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. today, and 11 a.m. Sunday. Tickets are $19.50, $29.50, $39.50 and $49.50 for the 7 p.m. shows on today and the 3 p.m. show Sunday. (800) 745-3000.

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