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Dinosaurs invade Tampa school to interact with special needs students

Posted at 2:45 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 15:55:42-05

TAMPA, Fla. — This weekend children will have the chance to interact with life-like and life-size dinosaurs at the Tampa Convention Center. It’s called Dino and Dragon Stroll.

However, for young people living with special needs attending an event like this can be a challenge. So they are bringing the dinosaurs to those students throughout Hillsborough County Public Schools.

You could feel the floor shake as the 10-foot-tall Jurassic creature stomped its way down the hallways of Caminiti Exceptional Center. Then it was into the classroom giving students an up-close and personal encounter.

“If it wasn’t for this, them coming here, most of these kids would not have gotten the chance to see the dinosaurs and interact with them,” said principal Joe Hilbush.

The Dino and Dragon Stroll may be at the Tampa Convention Center this weekend, but the dinosaurs were let out of the cages early to visit children with special needs at Caminiti Exceptional Center.

They call it Dino Therapy. Every time the Dino and Dragon Stroll goes to a new city, they like to stop off at area schools and meet with those special students.

“My favorite part of these school visits is seeing the reaction on the kids' faces because it’s coming into a safe environment that they know,” said Nick Cluckey, with Dino and Dragon Stroll.

You could say the reaction among many of them, was Dinomite. It’s the kind of activity they thrive on.

“The more interactive things are the more they are into it, the more they get from it, so when they can hold things and touch things and when things respond to them they get more out of it,” said Hilbush.

Student Michael Hickman just met a new best friend.

“I think it’s awesome, we should hang out more often,” said Hickman.

Despite the size and the horns, the Pachycephalosaurus, otherwise known as Bonk, was a big teddy bear.

For more information on the Dino and Dragon Stroll and how Hillsborough County Public Schools students can attend for free, visit