ADJ lights Blair Drummond’s dinosaurs
Tuesday, 1 December 2020
blair-drummondThe models are controlled with infrared sensors that trigger realistic movements
UK - Opened in 1970, Blair Drummond Safari Park is located just outside the Scottish city of Stirling, the site is home to over 350 rare and exotic animals, including the country's only giraffes. Opened to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary this year, the park’s new World of Dinosaurs attraction features 20 full-size model dinosaurs arranged throughout a trail laid in a 10,000sq.ft area of woodland.
The models, which include a towering tyrannosaurus rex and a diplodocus are constructed with steel frames, covered with silicone skin, and are controlled with infrared sensors that trigger realistic movements including blinking eyes, breathing stomachs, arm gestures and head movements.
Since the park opens well after dark in the winter months and also hosts special events for Halloween and Christmas, management were clear that lighting would be an integral part of the new attraction. They had previously worked with specialist lighting provider Essential Supplies – based in Cornwall – on a project to light a special event space. This included a variety of ADJ fixtures and the team were very pleased with both the service they received from Essential Supplies and the quality of the ADJ equipment, which meant that this same combination was a logical choice for the much larger lighting installation for World of Dinosaurs.
Essential Supplies’ Alex Darling was responsible for designing and specifying the project as well as carrying out the onsite installation. Because of the family-oriented nature of the park, and the scale of the dinosaurs themselves, Alex choose a fun, colourful palette for illuminating the trees in the area instead of trying to recreate an authentic Jurassic period aesthetic. Then he opted for simple warm white illumination of the dinosaurs themselves to highlight the intricate detail of the models.
“The park is out in the middle of nowhere and it really is pitch black at night,” explains Alex. “So the lighting is essential for the attraction to operate after dark, but it also creates a bit of stay enthusiasm for guests, encouraging them to extend their visit to see the dinosaurs lit up. Obviously, my design is far from ‘to the book’ Jurassic, but I found that because the models are so big and lifelike, lighting them in an authentic way made the area a bit too scary.
“I knew that the park wouldn’t want their younger visitors to be frightened, so went for a design that is as fun and colourful as possible in the background but then aimed to light the dinosaurs as theatrically as possible so they retain their realistic appearance.”
To achieve this, Alex selected two models from ADJ’s range of weatherproof fixtures, the 32 HEX Panel IP and Encore Burst RGBW IP, which were used in multiples to light the entire World of Dinosaurs exhibit.
“I chose to use the 32 HEX Panel IP on this project because of its brightness and beam spread and its colour mixing abilities,” explains Alex. I’d also used a significant number of the units in harsh conditions last year on another project, the Illuminate Festival of Light, so I knew that they would be up to the challenge of permanent outdoor use. With their good throw, I mainly used these fixtures to light up the tree canopies in a variety of different colours to create a backdrop for the dinosaurs.
“For this project I particularly wanted something with a really smooth but wide spread of light and the Encore Burst RGBW IP offers exactly that. With its wide beam angle and Fresnel-style lens, it was perfect for illuminating the dinosaurs themselves in warm white. We’ve generally found ADJ’s IP65-rated fixtures to be very reliable; we’ve had fixtures that claim to be IP65 from other suppliers in the past that have leaked a bit, but we’ve never had a problem with ADJ units.”
‘World of Dinosaurs’ at Blair Drummond Safari Park is open now and has expanded its winter season to include every day up until 20 December 2020. As an open-air attraction, the park remains open despite the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to reduced numbers to allow for social distancing, all visitors must book in advance for a timed entry slot.

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