For Michael Vaster, it was a case of once bitten, twice shy.
Reaching out to pet the nose of an extra-large Boardwalk visitor Thursday, the 9-year-old boy recoiled with fright and plunged into a nearby crowd of visitors, less fearful of getting lost than getting eaten.
"I'm not going near that thing," he pouted to his mother.
And just like that, the illusion was complete. Vaster and hordes of other children from around New Jersey thought they saw a dinosaur pace past the Boardwalk benches and hot-dog stands.
Through a viewfinder, Stephen Hershey smiled at the children's reactions.
At 23, the actor has joined the cast of performers who brings the prehistoric creatures to life for a highly researched stage show.
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