A WORLD-first collection of 55 prehistoric creatures made using more than two million toy bricks has launched at Marwell Zoo.

I was lucky enough to visit this new exhibition with my five-year-old son, who is a dinosaur enthusiast.

BRICKOSAURS! Evolution invites visitors to the Winchester zoo to step back in time and embark on a prehistoric adventure through the park, coming face-to-face with a wide variety of dinosaurs.

From roaring raptors to the incredible seven-metre-long Spinosaurus and a huge mosasaur emerging from the water, BRICKOSAURS! is the perfect addition to the zoo to excite visiting families.

We used to visit Marwell regularly when my son was in pre-school, making the most of the very reasonably priced annual passes which are perfect for those with little ones who might tire visiting for a full day.

But now he is in school we haven’t been for a while and were both looking forward to seeing what had changed.

Marwell is a zoo perfect for those with children, spanning over a vast outdoor space with more than 140 exotic and endangered species and more than 2,500 animals including giraffes, tigers, leopards, meerkats, penguins and even a sloth.

It is set over 140-acres, with dozens of animal enclosures and five adventure playgrounds.

We made our way around the park enjoying the various animals that were out and about, including the giraffes, which are always fascinating to watch.

These gentle creatures towered over us, making my son giggle as they poked out their long tongues to lick the side of the building!

My son loved measuring himself outside their enclosure to see how tall he is in comparison and discovered he doesn’t even reach a giraffe’s knee.

We also loved spotting the dinosaur exhibits which had been creatively displayed around the zoo and finding out how many bricks were used to build each of them.

The dinosaur exhibition offers plenty of fun extras for visitors with a new free app to follow an educational trail with fascinating facts as well as a prehistoric quiz. And it is all included in the admission price.

A fossil zone offers visitors the chance to discover how our ancestors founded prehistoric creatures, with an amazing display of early marine creatures.

The event, which runs until September 4, took professional builders at the Hampshire workshop of Bricklive International more than 9.000 hours to complete.

To build each Brickosaur, creatives met to decide on the species and exact pose to ensure the design passed rigorous health and safety checks.

Designers then created a 3D digital model featuring the toy bricks and colours using computer sculpting software.

Teams of between two and seven then built each sculpture around stainless steel frames, gluing together one brick at a time.

It was interesting finding out about the work behind each sculpture and my son loved trying to locate them all.

At lunch, we sat in the grounds of Marwell Hall, enjoying a picnic on the grass amongst other families.

In the afternoon we visited the tropical house which spans two floors with views across a lush canopy with cascading waterfalls and a bustling forest floor.

It is home to animals from all six groups – mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates - including a two-toed sloth which we were lucky to see close up as it made its way – very slowly of course – up the trunk of a tree.

At the end of our visit, we browsed Marwell’s shop which has a tempting selection of animal themed souvenirs.

Marwell Zoo is owned by conservation charity Marwell Wildlife, meaning every penny spent there supports amazing projects to conserve habitats and species both in Hampshire and around the world.

This month it was given the royal seal of approval for its environmental commitments with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development, which will be presented at a reception hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in July.

Marwell really does offer the perfect day out for families, with fun combined with education, as well as the knowledge that you are supporting an extremely worthy cause.

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