San Diego Zoo Ice Age 4-D Experience Review - A Fun Trip Back in Time

The world-famous San Diego Zoo opened a brand new exhibit, the “Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs – The 4-D Experience”, on Saturday, May 19, 2012, with a VIP ribbon cutting ceremony and celebrity guest appearance – both two legged and four. The new experience is a 14 minute 4-D clip from the third installment of the Ice Age movies“Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs.” Viewers will feel the film come to life with various special effects, including moving seats, arctic winds, authentic scents, and even snow. The film will be shown throughout the day at the San Diego Zoo 4-D Theater.

Ice Age 4-D Experience premiere

 The premiere was held at the zoo’s Elephant Odyssey enclosure. Real snow, dyed blue, was placed around the wooly mammoths statues, so kids could play in the snow and climb the mammoth for photos. The live elephants at the zoo were also treated with snow, filled with treats including apples and watermelons. For the human guests, the zoo had pastries, including cookies with Ice Age characters on them, juice, and coffee.

Elephants playing in the snow at Elephant Odyssey


Guests were treated to close encounters with some of the San Diego Zoo’s four-legged celebrities, included a tamandua, or lesser anteater named Tipu, a white bellied tree pangolin named Bubba, and an armadillo. Tipu was the hit of the event, entertaining guests with his tree climbing antics and messy eating style. Twelve years old, he is one of the zoo’s ambassadors and even visits children’s hospitals and retirement facilities.

Keke Palmer meets Tibu, the tamandua

 Celebrity guest star, Keke Palmer, voice of Peaches in the new movie “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” in theaters July 13, posed for pictures with the Tibu, signed posters for the new movie, and performed the ribbon cutting ceremony. 

Keke Palmer cutting the ribbon at Ice Age 4-D Experience


Ray Ringer, senior elephant keeper at Elephant Odyssey explained that the new Ice Age 4D Experience was the perfect addition to the exhibit because that area of the park that was created to give visitors a look at the prehistoric animals – woolly mammoths, American lions, giant sloths, to name a few – that actually inhabited the San Diego area. With the new experience, visitors would get a good feel of what the earth might have been like 13 million years ago.

Other attendees included Bob Dillon, director of operations for the San Diego Zoo, representatives from Cinemax and Fox and families who had won a zoo-sponsored contest to attend the premiere. Scrat and Sid from the Ice Age movies also made an appearance at the ribbon cutting ceremony, where families could get their pictures taken with the characters. 

Scrat and Sid from Ice Age


Although the point of going to the zoo, for most people, is to be outside and see live animals, not to sit inside a dark theater watching a movie—which you can do at home for free—the Ice Age 4-D experience at the San Diego Zoo is definitely worth seeing on your next visit. This is mostly due to the fact that this is an experience you can’t get sitting at home. The special effects are well done and the scene they chose from the Ice Age movie is a good one with plenty of laughs, and you won’t be confused if you haven’t seen the actual movie. It also makes for a nice respite, especially if the kids are complaining about the heat and are starting to get tired. 

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