Big kids love dinosaurs

I don't know what it is about dinosaurs, but I just love them.

I have been fascinated by the Jurassic critters for as long as I can remember.

Every time I saw a drawing of one, I always got this odd feeling. I am far from being a kid any more, but when I heard about a dinosaur exhibit at the Okanagan Science Centre, I got that same feeling all over again.

Perhaps I should have been a paleontologist instead of a media guy. Or a firefighter instead of a media guy, or a singing barber instead of a media guy or a ... never mind, you get the idea.

Anyway, as a wee lad, I just could not get enough of the ancient monsters.

Because in a way, that's what they were – real, live monsters.

Growing up, I had books on dinosaurs, life-like plastic dinosaurs and was (am) a fan of pretty much every movie ever made that includes a dinosaur.

I know the movies are not factually correct, but I am willing to over look that just for the chance to see a dinosaur moving and roaring.

However, as a kid, all my toy dinosaurs had to be factually accurate and a silly 'pretend' dinosaur would just not do.

Those dinosaurs usually ended up in the business end of my pellet gun. Which, I must admit, was pretty darn fun.

I would envision myself as being lost in time and having to battle my way past a hoard of gnashing teeth and flesh-ripping claws.

Of course, the beasts always lost, and I was always the hero. Childish, I know, but give me a break, I was only 23.

Actually, I was around 10 years old when I got my first pellet gun and discovered the joys of shooting things – like rampaging dinosaurs.

But not the realistic dinosaurs. Those were far too important to fall to the lead projectile of my break-barrel air rifle.

I knew more about dinosaurs by Grade 5 than most kids know in a lifetime. By Grade 6, my teachers forbade me from doing any more book reports on dinosaurs.


By high school, dinosaurs had been replaced by my other passion: motorcycles. I have loved motorcycles for as long as I loved dinosaurs.

Cars, girls, work, motorbikes, girls — all distracted me and my focus on dinosaurs faded into the far reaches of my mind — until my son got old enough to become interested in things and he became interested in dinosaurs.

I did not prompt him to want books and toys on the great beasts, he just gravitated to them on his own. I was one proud papa, and in my 30s, I was once again lying on the living room floor playing with plastic dinosaurs.

Junior knew a lot about dinosaurs. He knew many of their names, what they ate and other 'vital' information.

But he too grew out of the dino phase and the numerous plastic dinosaurs were relegated to a corner of his room where they waited to once again roam the Earth.

They only had to wait a few years. A good friend had a son who was fascinated by dinosaurs to the point that was all he talked about, played with and drew.

This was my kind of little dude.

So I gathered up all the toy dinosaurs we had and, with the permission of junior, gave it to our friend's little guy who looked like he had just won the lottery as I handed him two bags full of the beasts.

Dinosaurs may be long gone, but they are definitely not forgotten.

And they can be seen up close and personal at the Okanagan Science Centre starting Saturday.

I can hardly wait.

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About the Author

Darren Handschuh has been working as a writer and photographer in the media industry for the past 25 years. He is married, has three children, a dog and two cats (although he is not completely sure how that part happened).

He takes a humourous look at life, and has often said, “I might as well laugh at myself, everyone else does.” 

His writings have been compared to a collection of words from the English language assembled in a somewhat coherent manner. High praise indeed.

Life gives Darren plenty of material for his column, and no one is safe from his musings – especially himself. 

He regularly writes to his blog

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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