Visit our own Jurassic Park

Lynne Gadd-Claxton

THE newly renovated and upgraded Bayworld has plenty on offer with exciting snake, seal and penguin presentations and a life-size display of dinosaurs.

Situated at Port Elizabeth’s beachfront, the museum, oceanarium and snake park could offer you a break from the sand and sea while the kids receive a feast of edutainment this holiday.

The Port Elizabeth Museum recently launched the newly renovated Africa’s Lost World which houses dinosaurs which once roamed Africa. Dinosaurs featured in the lower section of the snake park include the life-size and life-like movement of the Carcharodontosaurus Saharicus – a carnivorous dinosaur resembling the North American Tyrannosaurus Rex. Also on show are the spiked, small-brained Paranthodon Africanus which roamed the Grahamstown area, and the crested carnivorous Dracovenator Regenti, whose name means dragon hunter after it was discovered in the Drakensberg.

After the kids have explored Africa’s Lost World, they can greet the tortoises, terrapins and crocodile before learning all about the snakes housed in the snake park.

We visited after lunch and many of the snakes – which include an impressive number of pythons – were cooling off in a pool of water while some were more active slithering in the tanks.

Entering the museum after viewing the snakes, visitors can see the exhibits of maritime history and its discoveries, or learn about Eastern Cape history.

Other noteworthy exhibits include the 15m skeleton of the last southern right whale harpooned in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The oceanarium displays smaller tanks of fish focusing on the marine life of Algoa Bay and facilities housing seals and the endangered African penguins.

Bayworld is open from Mondays to Thursdays from 9am until 4.30pm. It closes between 1pm and 2pm. On Fridays the centre is open from 9am till 4pm but closed for lunch. A seal and penguin presentation takes place at 11am and 3pm.

A snake interaction in the snake park takes place at 12pm daily.

Entrance is R35 (adults), R25 (under-17) and R30 (students and pensioners). Children under three are free.

You can also give the perfect gift for young exploring minds by becoming a Friend of Bayworld and enjoy free admission to the Port Elizabeth Museum, snake park, oceanarium and No 7 Castle Museum for a full calendar year among other benefits for R90 (adults), R55 (children) and R65 (students and pensioners).

Inquiries: (041) 584-0650.

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