by Paul Ruben
Over the years many parks have promoted attractions themed to dinosaurs. For example, there’s Epcot’s Universe of Energy Pavilion’s ride through a primeval world filled with dinosaurs. Another is Islands of Adventure’s Jurassic Park River Adventure and Pteranodon Flyers ride. Then there’s the DinoLand USA area in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
In Eastern Europe, dinosaur parks are springing up everywhere, thanks to low start up and running costs, while in China the Changzhou Dinosaur Park is about to celebrates its 10th anniversary with a package of new attractions from Huss, S&S and Zamperla.
In the US alone, there are three parks called Dinosaur World, filled with genuine giant fibreglass dinosaurs, so real they can intimidate young visitors. Dinosaur World is the brainchild of Swedish businessman Christer Svensson, who has been in the entertainment business for over 30 years.
Svensson and his family moved to the America in the early ’90s. Attracted to central Florida, where his family had vacationed many times, Svensson purchased a former alligator farm in Plant City and, in 2001, it became the new home for his ancient reptiles. Five years later, Dinosaur World opened in Kentucky, with a Texas location added in 2008.
Did I ever tell you about the time that, like Jonah and the Whale, I was swallowed by a dinosaur? Don’t believe me? Here’s the photo to prove it. It happened as I was walking through Dinosaur World in Cave City, Kentucky.
Cavemen live in Cave City, and the dinosaurs drive up and down the nearby highway. As I watched, one dinosaur’s car was stopped by a flat tyre-annosaurus. Then two dino cars crashed, causing tyrannosaurus wrecks. One driver got out wearing a cowboy hat and boots, tyrannosaurus Tex.
Dinosaur World includes more than 100 dinosaurs in an open-air museum setting. The dinosaurs represent a variety of well-known and unusual species. Indoor exhibits range from triceratops horns to stegosaurs skulls
There is also a fossil dig and a boneyard, where youngsters can unearth a life-size dinosaur skeleton, as well as a dinosaur themed playground for children.The gift shop is operated by a female dinosaur whose specialty is making blouses. The sign outside the shop read, “Try Sara’s Tops.”
Dinosaur World overflows with educational opportunities and the park provides learning materials to enhance visits from school groups. This being Kentucky cave country, visitors can enter the park’s movie cave and see an educational dinosaur film.
Marketing director Nicole Randall escorted me through the park, pointing out the different species of dinosaurs. She also endured my lame joke about prehistoric swine. You know, Jurassic pork. I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to read some of the Jurassic humour in this column, too.
There was a myopic dinosaur Nicole called a do-ya-think-he-saurus, and a triceratops sitting on its tricera-bottom. We strolled past a herd of mammoths before Nicole pointed out the dinosaur that keeps her awake at night, the bronto-snore-us. But for me the scariest prehistoric animal was the terror-dactyl.