This Memorial Day weekend, dinosaur fans from all over the country will be flocking to Secaucus, New Jersey to catch a glimpse of the 31 prehistoric animals that will be 'roaming' around the 24-acres of Laurel Hill Park. Welcome to Field Station: Dinosaurs, a real-life like Jurassic Park!
However, unlike the movie, visitors to this park do not face mortal danger, for while the giant creatures may seem alive, they are just animatronic dinosaurs. Believed to be the only permanent dinosaur exhibit of its kind in the world, the giant theme park is the brainchild of 51-year old Guy Gsell.
Obsessed with these ferocious creatures since childhood, he spent a year and a half touring other dinosaur shows around the country and abroad, for inspiration. Then, combining his extensive theater experience with his love for the animals, he devised a plan for a park that is like no other.
First of all, there is the realistic look and feel of the dinosaurs that greet visitors as they walk along three-quarter mile natural setting where they lie waiting in earnest. Built to size, they range from the Compsognathus that is a big as a wild turkey to the biggest and baddest of all - The Argentinosaurus, which at 90 feet long and 30 feet tall can be seen all the way from Manhattan, New York.
Cool as they are, seeing just giant dinosaurs can get a little boring so, Mr. Gsell has drawn on his previous experience and added some theatrics - All the dinosaurs are programmed to move as visitors get close. While most of them repeat the same three-minute action cycle over and over, some, like the Argetinosaurus are programmed so that they respond to motion or noise. That means that a large crowd or loud noises will trigger unexpected responses like ferocious roars and other scary gestures.
Once they have visited Base Camp where the dinosaurs reside, visitors can go to the Quarry - Here they can experience a real-life Dig by searching for dinosaur fossils. From there on its the Plateau where they will learn about how these giants perished and the human impact on our general environment. If they still have the energy, they can then move on to the Lookout - An ornithology station that outlines why scientists believe dinosaurs evolved into birds. In addition to that, younger visitors will also be able to enjoy puppet and game shows performed by life-sized dinosaur renditions.
While the dinosaurs are settled in a natural outdoor setting, the rest of the exhibits lie inside a tent connected with stone paths and rope railings making the whole experience 'Jurassic Park'-like sans of course, any danger. Mr. Gsell is hoping that the whole experience will be a fun and educational expedition for the entire family. Can't wait to get there? Check out the details at fieldstationdinosaurs.com.
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals that first began roaming the earth during the Triassic period, about 230 million years ago. For the next 135 years, they ruled the planet, becoming the dominant terrestrial vertebrates. However, about 65 million years ago, a catastrophic event that has been called the Creaceous-Paleogene extinction or K-Extinction, hit earth. While scientists are not sure whether it was an asteroid hit, massive volcanic eruptions or something else, it ended up decimating many living organisms as well, species of dinosaurs. However one, the Theropoda species survived and is still around today - Evolved into the modern-day bird!
Resources: ifc.com, nytimes.com, hudsonreporter.com