Upon entering Jurassic Park at Universal Orlando Resort, guests are taken out of their daily environment and into a Costa Rican jungle. Thanks to the work of architects and landscape artists, the prehistoric theme is brought to life with detailed Jurassic Period plant species, including the ginkgo biloba tree. "Science of Universal Orlando Resort" is produced by NBC Learn in partnership with Universal Orlando Youth Programs.
Science of Universal Orlando Resort™ – Jurassic Park™
FRANCES FRANCESCHI (Universal Creative):
Hi, I’m Frances Franceschi, a conceptual architectural designer with Universal creative at Universal Orlando Resort. For concept architecture, we manage and we design all master planning efforts within our parks and resorts. This goes anywhere from retail to attraction, full lands and also new Universal Parks. We want our guests to feel a natural sense of immersion once they're within our land. We want to take them out of their daily environment and how we do this is with a design technique called placemaking. This placemaking is done during the creative process, where not only does the architecture of our environment, it has to work harmoniously with our landscape and our hardscape within the lands. Looking at Toon Lagoon in comparison to Jurassic Park, that transition is achieved by changing not only your landscape foliage around you, but also the architecture. The architecture in Toon Lagoon is very bright and colorful, whereas when you start transitioning into Jurassic Park, that architecture starts to become rough and primal and raw. And how we create that transition is by using the landscape, where it goes from the cartoon landscape into this dense tropical foliage into Jurassic Park. Growing up, when I’d read books, I would start to create these worlds in my head and I wanted to build those in real life. Getting into architecture really allowed me to build whatever was in my imagination. Architecture is a perfect mix of both art and science. The science portion of it is really just the math and the physics of it and the art portion of that is the creative, visual fun in building architecture. I think the most rewarding part of my job would be when I actually come into the parks with my family and friends and not only seeing the look on their faces, but also looking at the other guests that are walking around. Walking into Jurassic Park, they've been seeing this on a movie screen, you know? It's really two-dimensional, and then when you get them into the environment, it becomes four-dimensional and it's really satisfying and it makes you feel good that you were a part of that creation.
JASON LIEFFERS (Universal Orlando Resort): My name is Jason Lieffers. I'm a supervisor in the horticulture department at Universal Orlando Resort. We try to incorporate plants into the various themes at Universal Orlando Resort. We have many themes here and for every attraction, we try to meet that theme with our plant palette. We're dealing with plants from around the world. We have many, many different plant species here. We're sitting in Jurassic Park right now at Universal Orlando Resort and this is supposed to be mimicking a Costa Rican jungle. The primitive plants here that we represent are extremely important in that that really helps bring this theme to life. In the Jurassic period, you predominantly had gymnosperms, gymnosperm being a seed-producing, non-flowering plant. So we have a lot of cycads, for example. The ginkgo became extremely dominant in the Jurassic period and the cretaceous and that's gymnosperm as well. The ginkgo biloba is just the epitome of uniqueness. It's the last remaining species of its kind, of its grouping that was so dominant in the Jurassic. The ginkgo biloba is the only species of that grouping of plants today. It's called a living fossil for that reason. In addition to the gymnosperms, we also have many more primitive plant types, like the ferns. And we do have a couple of representatives of even some lesser vascular plants like selaginella and the club mosses. These are true mosses right here and you can see how low to the ground that they are. They do not have true roots, they do not have true leaves, they do not have true stems, they have no vascular tissue so they need to stay low to the ground and absorb their water. I love themed landscaping, and here at Universal Orlando Resort, we have such a large array of different themes with our attractions that that challenge exists daily. And it's just exciting to try to mimic an area from across the globe right here. It's a wonderful place to have a career. It's very unique in that you blend the science of horticulture with the theme park atmosphere.
Forget the gray, green and brown dinosaurs in the "Jurassic Park" movies. Paleontologist Jack Horner wants to transport people back in time. He wants people to see what dinosaurs really looked like. He wants them to see a feathered Tyrannosaurus rex colored bright red. He wants you to also to see a blue triceratops with a red fringe similar to a rooster's comb.
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