Less than five minutes after leaving the Dinosaur Valley State Park, I continued my prehistoric odyssey just down the road at a place called Dinosaur World. This Texas attraction is actually one of three in the United States with the other two in Florida and Louisville. Since I’ve yet to see those I can’t say whether or not they’re all set up the same way or if they offer different dinosaurs. What I do know is that it helps make this little patch of Glen Rose a dinosaur lover’s haven. You’ve got real dinosaur tracks for the more serious minded at the State Park, life-sized dinosaurs and activities for kids and families here, and the Glen Rose Creation Museum in-between the two for fundamentalist Christians who believe dinos existed with humans before dying out with Noah’s flood. Without getting into a religious/scientific debate, let’s just say I couldn’t drive past that one fast enough to get to Dinosaur World! They’d just opened for business as I passed through their elaborate gates and I was the only one there. I couldn’t wait to walk through their front door which had a T-Rex looming above and two Parasaurolophus trash receptacles on either side. As mentioned, this event definitely caters to kids and families though, in a related story, I’m still very much a kid at heart when it comes to dinosaurs!
My enthusiasm was well placed as, once inside, I found myself in a huge gift shop that was like I died and went to Heaven. The place had everything from toys to fossils and I told the friendly woman working the register that it was a good thing they were fifteen hours away from me lest I’d blow every paycheck here like a gambling addict at the Horseshoe casino!
After handing me my admission receipt, she explained that the dinosaur path was about a half mile long. I’d already thumbed through their brochure back at my hotel during breakfast (which included a coupon so never ignore those hotel lobby kiosks!) and it gave me the impression that this was a lot like the Moab Giants we’d visited a few months ago in Utah only with a LOT less attention to detail. This proved an accurate assessment as there were quite a few statues I’d come across where my first reaction was, “What the hell is that!?” before later reading the signage and thinking, “Oh….yeah…I guess I can see that now.”
It also never ceases to amaze me how influential the 1993 film Jurassic Park was on popular culture’s view of Dilophosaurus. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love that movie, but their false portrayal of it having a “fan-face” (like modern day frilled lizards) is still showing up nearly twenty-five years later with Dinosaur World proving no exception. As soon as I saw it I bristled but what really got to me was them having a sign nearby explaining that the frill was movie fiction before adding a sentence on how it might have been used for mating. Um, no, if it didn’t exist in reality than it’s “use” was very clearly for entertainment. Seriously, did they hire someone from the Creation Museum to do the signage over here?
That’s not to say that Dinosaur World didn’t have merit. Had I been a small child, I’d of loved this place and, come to think of it, I can’t say it wasn’t fun for a guy my age either. Speaking of kids, I actually had this whole park to myself with the exception of one family that had multiple whiny tots somewhere behind. Since the path was lush and had lots of curves I never actually saw these folks but, if I’d linger too long somewhere snapping pictures, I’d start hearing their squeals getting closer. Whenever that happened I’d pick up my pace so fast you’d swear I was being stalked by a pack of cheesy-looking Velociraptors!
Realistic or not, these dinosaurs were pretty “fruitful” as there were lots of babies around. Clearly Dinosaur World placed more emphasis on “family” than “ferocious” so far as their collection was concerned and definitely knew their audience.
After finishing the loop I found myself on the other side of the main courtyard which featured a “Gem Excavation” area, a dinosaur-themed playground, and a “Boneyard” where kids could dig for their own “fossils.”
I stepped inside to look around before hearing those kids getting closer. I took that as I reminder of how I needed to get going on to San Antonio but not before another visit to that amazing gift shop. After mulling things over I decided to add another sauropod to my collection back home!
Dinosaur World was a pretty cool place to visit and I’ll definitely try and see the other two eventually. It’s family-oriented but not necessarily ideal for those on a budget. Just don’t forget those coupons back at the hotel!