Mar 7, 2023 - Things to Do

Dinosaur rentals make prehistoric parties come alive

A person wearing a very realistic T. Rex costume walks underneath a swing set on a partly cloudy but pretty day.

The brothers play games — kids dance, freeze in place and try not to giggle when Tulsa the T. Rex comes near — and tricks (including beer pong). Photo: Thomas Wheatley/Axios

Dinosaurs — very realistic looking ones — still walk among us. You can even then rent them for your next birthday, bar mitzvah or bachelorette party.

What's happening: Mike and Justin Brabson of Atlanta-based Prehistoric Nation are on a mission to bring history back to life by crawling inside complex dinosaur costumes and blowing people's minds.

Catch up quick: In 2021, the brothers quit their day jobs as insurance adjusters and partnered with a friend to buy super-realistic foam-and-fabric costumes and start a live-action dinosaur company.

  • They discovered the idea while researching potential animal costumes to use for an earlier business idea: a mobile karaoke business that delivered a stage and lights to children's birthday parties.

State of play: Like an asteroid trailing across the sky, crashing into Earth, and triggering a mass extinction event, the impact has been immense.

  • Prehistoric Nation has performed at children's hospitals, turkey giveaways with Shaq, farmers markets, schools and more.
  • Spring is the beginning of their busy season, and every weekend from now until May is booked. Three weddings are on the books for the upcoming months.

Details: The brothers have amassed a seven-dino army including a Velociraptor named Bleu (no relation to the Velociraptor named "Blue" in "Jurassic World," definitely not), a Triceratops named Trixie and a 20-foot-long, long-necked Apatosaurus.

  • Justin often operates the dinosaur while Mike plays the role of dinosaur ranger. It's an interactive experience more than a science presentation. "We try to have our dinosaurs have a little more emotion and humanize them," Mike told Axios.

In the weeds: The dinosaurs use video cameras hidden in the dinosaur's nose to see, not traditional eye holes, and the costume a cooling fan and hand controls to move the arms.

Zoom out: When Prehistoric Nation is not booked (or in the winter "off-season") the brothers drive around town to film content for their social media or test the dinosaur's capabilities.

  • "We go bowling a lot with Bleu," Mike told Axios. "We basically drive around to different places and see if a dinosaur can walk around."

Intrigue: The costumes are made-to-fit by a Chinese company called Only Dinosaurs and can take four months to arrive.

What's next: Prehistoric Nation will perform 3 shows every weekend at Yule Forest's Tulip Festival in Stockbridge. The event runs from March 18 to April 2.

The big picture: The brothers would like to create their own venue with shows, dinosaur-themed escape rooms, and leverage social media content for more charity work.


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