Carly Burbank

A passion for fossils births traveling dinosaur show

Amazing Traveling Dinosaur Show launches Dec. 3 at Uptown; Saanich creators make big plans to head across Canada

An education in rare dinosaur fossils isn’t usually considered a hands-on affair, but Saanich entrepreneurs Carly and Terry Burbank are hoping they inspire a few budding paleontologists by opening up their collection to the public.

The Amazing Traveling Dinosaur Show makes its debut Dec. 3 to 7 at Uptown Shopping Centre. Interactive displays mean kids and adults alike can feel the weight of a mammoth tusk, examine the replica heads of Maiasaura and T-Rex unearthed in the flats of Montana and Wyoming and help a good cause at the same time.

“Ten per cent of our admission costs will go to Help Fill a Dream Foundation, which is based right here in Victoria,” said Carly, managing director of the dino show.

The Burbanks restore fossils and work with museums and private collectors, but didn’t think of bringing their dino bones, meteorites and minerals on the road until they held a fundraiser for a friend in Saskatchewan.

“We set up a small fundraiser in a church community hall, and the response was so great,” Carly said. “We though it would be kind of cool to take this on the road and take fossils to places that don’t have natural history museums to give people, especially kids, a chance to see an actual dinosaur bone or tusk.”

The family then went about putting together a pilot show at home. If all goes well next week, they hope to book shows and partner with charities across Canada in 2015.

They’ve even had interest from Dragon’s Den, but Carly isn’t quite sure how to pitch dinosaur fossils on TV.

“We’ll see how this show goes before we consider giving Dragon’s Den a shot,” she said.

Craig Smith, executive director with the Help Fill a Dream Foundation, said partnering with the Dino show just seemed a natural fit.

“Kids and dinosaurs are a match made in heaven,” he said.

Help Fill a Dream Foundation allows kids with life-threatening illnesses on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Island and Metro Vancouver to apply for a dream: meet a celebrity, go to Disneyland or perhaps even fly in their family for a visit.

“We had a very busy year this year, we filled 10 dreams. We have 10 more on the books for next year. We just had a little guy come back from Legoland, but Disneyland is still No. 1 on the list,” Smith said.

Another 90 kids have been helped this year through family assistance, quality of life purchases like wheelchair-ready vehicles and medical equipment, Smith added.

“If mom or dad ends up over at B.C. Children’s Hospital, there are lots of costs for travel, additional childcare costs at home and some healthcare that isn’t covered,” he said.

“We often buy pumps for diabetic children or oximators for kids who need oxygen monitoring. All the things that just aren’t covered by medical.”

See amazingtravelingdinosaurshow.com for ticket prices and more information.

editor@saanichnews.com