If you’ve seen dinosaurs roaming your local supermarket there’s no need to rub your eyes in disbelief.
A woman from Crownhill has managed to turn Jurassic Park from science fiction to science fact in the space of just five days.
Mum-of-three Dawn Lapthorn created the Dinosaurs of Plymouth Facebook page on February 17 and it already has over 1,800 members.
The Plymouth version of John Hammond said that the groups aim was ‘to bring a little bit of joy and make the people of Plymouth smile’.
The reason for starting the group in the first place came after Dawn bought a dinosaur costume for her daughter’s birthday and decided it wasn’t radical enough so splashed out on an inflatable costume instead.
Dawn said: “What started it off for me is the fact it’s been really, really difficult to have parties at the moment and I’ve got three children aged 16, 18 and 23 so what we do as a family is we pick a theme for each of their birthdays and it just stemmed from there really.
“It’s my daughter’s birthday next month and we decided on a onesie theme so I got myself a dinosaur onesie and then I thought to myself I’m going to go one better and get myself an inflatable one.
“I just started wearing it outside and people were telling me how funny it was and before we knew it there were videos popping up here there and everywhere of people dressed in dinosaur costumes.
“Everyone kind of cottoned on pretty quickly and its gone from there really. I think I made the page about 4 or 5 days ago and we had over 1,000 members join in just under 24 hours – it went mad.”
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She added: “The whole aim of the group is to bring a bit of joy to people and make people smile in such difficult times so we’ve done that.
The next step is to create a massive meet up maybe on the Hoe or we could just ransack town.
“I cannot wait it’s going to be hilarious because there’s so many people who have gone out and bought these costumes it’s actually unreal how many people have these costumes,” she said.
“We’re hoping to meet up again as soon as we’re out of lockdown because yesterday we went to Central Park and I posted on the page that we’d be out in Plymouth and then someone informed the police of what we were doing.
“I don’t think we appreciated just how many people were going to come and it got quite crazy which was very irresponsible of me.
“The police said they could see what we were doing and it was really good that we were trying to lift people’s spirits but in a sense of encouraging people out into the community it’s not the wisest of ideas.
“I said I was very sorry and that I did put on Facebook that we would be doing a walk through town but I did not in my wildest dreams expect the amount of people who came out to see us.
“But I did apologise and took full responsibility because obviously it’s my group and I set it up. It certainly wasn’t one of our wisest of moves.
“People were saying how out of order the police were but at the end of the day they weren’t they were just doing their jobs and we totally respect that.
“Children were going mad and people were smiling which was so nice to see but it was irresponsible so we’ve now decided that once we’re out of lockdown we’re going to arrange a big mass meet up and call it something like Jurassic World, which is basically what I have created in Plymouth with all these different dinosaurs of different colours – they’re coming out of everywhere.
“People are messaging me left right and centre, I’ve even got people in Bristol telling me as soon as the meet happens they want to know so they can come down and watch.
“People on the group have told me ‘thank you for accepting us we’re from Bristol and we’ll definitely make the trip down when this all happens.”
Dawn believes that despite complaints to the police the general reaction from people in Plymouth has been very positive.
“The general reaction from people on the street is to just smile, laugh and take a picture,” she said.
“Often the first thing people do is grab their phones to take our photo. I’ve had messages from nurseries to ask if I could walk past for the children, so I’ve done a couple of them now.
“One nursery had all the children outside so they could see me and they just went crazy. I’ve got two costumes at the moment and one is slightly kinder looking so I wore that one as the last thing I want to do is make a child cry.
“I make sure I keep my distance and literally just walk past.
“It’s only me on my own but the children loved it, they absolutely loved it.”
When asked why she thought dinosaurs were the best way of spreading joy, she said: “The whole look about them is just funny and they’re absolutely hilarious to wear around and I think we have just as much fun wearing the costume as people do seeing us.
“I’d seen the odd dinosaur here and there so I thought I’d bring a little bit of humour to Plymouth. Now I think I’ve got about 100 people who have gone out and bought costumes.
“I’ve got two and then another costume coming on Saturday. I was in Tesco the other day in my costume and I had security guards asking to have their picture with me.”
So, now it just begs the questions, who’s showing up first to control Plymouth’s dino infestation – Jeff Goldblum or Chris Pratt?