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The OmnIcon of The Realm of Life

Palaeozoa

1977 publicity art for Palaeozoa

The Realm of Life introduced guests to the primordial forests of the Earth's ancient evolutionary past -- specifically the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, and Carboniferous periods.

Realm Layout and Design Edit

Guests entered the Realm by passing beneath an arch of tangled trees and ferns. Unlike many of the other realms, The Realm of Life had no single central area, but was composed instead of a myriad of winding paths, creating the effect of wandering through parkland. Much of the Realm's land was planted with fir trees, cycads, ferns, lycophytes, clubmosses, equistales, and other primeval plant species.

At the Realm's west end stood the Cambrian Aquarium -- an underground complex where guests could view (animatronic and animated) specimens of animals such as Opabinia, Wiwaxia, Marrella, Pikaia, and Anomalocaris interacting with one another in a variety of aquarium setups. This building's sandstone architecture also depicted many of these same species in artistic bas-relief sculptures.

The Realm's eastward trail terminated in the Dragonfly Dining Terrace, an open-air restaurant serving simple snacks like nuts and dates, as well as fish salads and other full meals -- and even fried crickets and grasshoppers for any guests brave enough to try them with hot sauce.

Throughout the Realm's other trails, guests were bound to encounter giant animatronic insects, amphibians, fish and reptiles. Quite a few of these were well-hidden in the foliage, challenging guests to search for camouflaged life nestled in every stump and crevice.

The Realm's north trail led to its anchor attraction: "Palaeozoa: A Primeval Safari."

Attraction: Palaeozoa Edit

This attraction was a glass-bottom boat ride that transported guests back to the earliest epochs of life's history on Earth. Guests boarded the boats in an area designed to simulate the Archaean Eon, roughly 3 billion years ago. Jagged flint and onyx dominated the landscape, and the backdrop included erupting volcanoes and crashing meteors beneath an atmosphere of greenish clouds.

Cambrian

1985 concept art for the Paleozoa's "Cambrian Explosion" chamber

Once guests had boarded the boats, they were introduced to one of the Biologists -- Park Ambassadors who piloted the boats and served as guides. The boat's Biologist would explain that she and her team had been using the Inventor's Time Tunneler technology to travel hundreds of millions of years into Earth's past, and gather the plants and animals she used to create The Realm of Life. On this voyage, the Biologist explained she intended to collect specimens from several eras of Earth's early history, and she was delighted to have the guests along for the ride.

Emerging from a time portal, the boats entered a tide pool environment during the Cambrian Explosion. Though the land was barren of plants, guests could gaze down into the water and watch animatronic Anomalocarids devour shrimp-like Marella, while Opabinia foraged among the sand-beds. The Biologist captured a particularly large Opabinia specimen, then announced that it was time to proceed to the Ordovician Period to collect a nautiloid.

Dunkleosteus

One of the Dunkleosteus armored fish that attacked the boats

As the boats entered the Ordovician chamber, they were attacked by a giant Eurypterid (sea scorpion) which lunged out of the water and nearly snapped off the Biologist's hand in one of its pincers. After dodging this predator and several of its kin, the Biologist managed to reach down into the water and retrieve a hard-shelled nautiloid. Peering down, riders could see the Ordovician ecosystem of clams, jellies, crinoids, corals, sea snails and trilobites.

With her nautiloid specimen safely in hand, the Biologist activated the time tunnel device again, launching the boats down a small waterfall and into the Devonian Period. Here, plants had begun to take over the land, and riders had to contend not only with gigantic armored fish such as Dunkleosteus, which snapped at the boat's glass bottom, but also with large amphibians.

Dragonfly

The giant dragonfly

A further time jump launched the boats into the Carboniferous Period -- immediately recognizable because the land had become covered with thick tropical forest. Giant millipedes and centipedes swarmed around the boat, while enormous fish and amphibians battled in the water.

Just as the Biologist was noting that "most of these animals are harmless," a gigantic dragonfly swooped down and knocked her out of the boat. A ramp then opened behind the boat, which plunged backwards down a steep hill, landing with a splash in a dense forest. Early Synapsid reptiles hunted among the trees and ferns.

The Biologist somehow managed to climb back into the boat. She announced that "This trip is officially over," and activated the time travel device, returning guests to the present day.

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