Though dinosaurs have long been extinct, one of the lizards recently visited an area vacation Bible school.
With bright-orange eyes, large mouth and long neck, the gentle giant named Weezie delighted dozens of children last week.
Weezie, a 16-foot robotic dinosaur, was last spotted camouflaged in the bushes and bamboo inside West Acres Baptist Church in Evans.
Bobby Salter Jr., the mastermind behind Weezie, knew the dinosaur would be a big hit with children.
"They love it," he said. "They've learned her name. They talk to her. They can't wait to get a hold of her."
The idea for a simulated dinosaur came about when the Salters were planning a project for their church's Bible school. The theme, Amazon Expedition, coincided with their plans.
"It was made to give kids the opportunity to learn where dinosaurs fit into the story of biblical creation," Salter said.
In March, the Salter family traveled to Kentucky to visit the Creation Museum, a Bible-based museum filled with dinosaurs and other animated figures. There, Salter met with a professor who had worked on the special effects for Jurassic Park .
The dinosaur, made of wood, steel, papier-mch and other materials, is controlled by a computer, and Salter, who works in the Advanced Technical Services department at E-Z-Go, had plenty of experience with the engineering and logistics of the project, said his wife, Heloise Salter.
"There's no www.build-a-dinosaur.com, so you just kind of think and do," Bobby Salter said. "There are no blueprints to follow. You just kind of try it, and if it works, fine. If it doesn't, you move on."
The Salters, who received help from family and neighbors, said the project became a community event.
"My kids loved it," Salter said. "I have spent quite a bit of time with my father, who helped a lot, so there was a lot of family time."
After six months of work, Weezie traveled to her new home at the church by trailer.
"I have faith in my husband," Heloise Salter said. "If he's going to do something, he's going to do it right."
Many of the children at Bible school couldn't wait to see Weezie, who was named after the blue, two-headed dinosaur from the animated children's show Dragon Tales.
"It kind of looks real," said 8-year-old Timmy Simons. "The teeth almost look like they're real, and there are a lot of humps like a camel."
Savannah Tardy, an 8-year-old pupil at Bel Air Elementary, imagined how the dinosaur would act if it were real.
"It would reach up to plants and take a big bite out of them," she said.
For Salter, that reaction is worth all the hard work.
"The best part was the first night that we had it in here and had it set up," he said. "The kids' reactions were phenomenal."
Salter isn't sure where Weezie will go after Bible school, but he knows one thing for certain.
"I don't just want to tear it up and throw it away," he said. "I don't know what we'll do with it, but we'll have fun with it, whatever it is."
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