A LARGE dinosaur has gone on show in Southampton - and has already proved a monster hit with at least one group of children.

Pupils from St John's Primary School walked to Westquay shopping complex to view the skeleton of an allosaurus that roamed the earth about 150 million years ago.

Some of the children stood open-mouthed as they glimpsed the fearsome-looking creature for the first time.

Daily Echo: Children from St John's Primary School come face to face with Big Sara.Children from St John's Primary School come face to face with Big Sara.

Lucy Hibbs, a member of the school's senior leadership team, said: "We wanted to give them a lovely surprise. On the way over I gave them a few clues, saying we were going to see something that was really ancient and really big.

"One of the pupils thought it might be an elephant. I think they were genuinely amazed to see a real dinosaur."

READ MORE: Dinosaur skeleton goes on show at Westquay in Southampton

READ NEXT: Big Sara dinosaur fossil coming to Westquay in Southampton - but what is an allosaurus?

Christened Big Sara, the ancient reptile is on a raised platform opposite Five Guys in Westquay South. About 70 per cent of the bones are genuine, making it one of the most complete allosaurus skeletons ever found.

Daily Echo: Children from St John's Primary School visit Big Sara at the Westquay shopping complex.Children from St John's Primary School visit Big Sara at the Westquay shopping complex.

Big Sara was discovered on a steep hillside in the Morrison Formation in Wyoming, the most fertile source of dinosaur fossils in North America.

The skeleton has been loaned to Westquay by the Bournemouth-based Richmond Group, which bought the fossil at auction.

James Benamor, Richmond's founder and chief executive, regularly visits Westquay with his family.

Watching the St John's pupils inspect Big Sara he said: "This is exactly what we dreamed of when we came up with the idea.

"We're hoping every child in Southampton and the surrounding towns will come and see it. The skeleton is 70 per cent complete, which is very unusual for an allosaurus."

Daily Echo: Big Sara will be on display at Westquay for two years.Big Sara will be on display at Westquay for two years.

Westquay's general manager, Laura Read, added: "Everyone loves dinosaurs and it's really nice to see something like this on display outside of London."

Dinosaur expert Dean Lomax said: "It's a fine specimen - and it's fantastic that it's not locked away somewhere where no-one can see it.

"Hopefully it will inspire people to visit museums and maybe look for fossils themselves."

Big Sara's arrival coincides with the opening of Jurassic World: Dominion, at Westquay’s Showcase Cinema de Lux on Friday.

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