Saturday, May 19, 2018

Tour of Texas Dinos Part 2

Previously: Part 1

If you've ever visited Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, you have definitely seen the two big greeters up front.  T-Rex-esque and Brontosaurus-esque (or whatever you're supposed to call brontosauruses now) statues are just past the park office, near the entrance, and they're happy to pose for picture after picture with visitors.

Many a foggy road trip vacation memory was made by these beauties.  As the years passed many people would remember seeing them but the details would fade away like a dream at dawn.  Where they really there?  Where did they come from?  How did they get there?

They've been standing guard at the park since the 70s.  And while the area has a lot of well preserved, easily viewed dinosaur footprints, it's seems unlikely that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service would have the funds to commission such cool looking, yet budgetary frivolous, conversation pieces.

And of course, they didn't.  The origin of this species happened closer to the Atlantic Ocean than the Paluxy River.  They were originally a part of an exhibit at the 1964-65 World's Fair in New York.

As was the style at the time for World's Fairs, the Sinclair dinosaur exhibit was big and there was lots of it and it was big!  It included nine of these custom made behemoths and "educated" fair visitors about the connection between the dead dinos in the ground and the gas they put in their car.

It's easy to get excited when you're planning a big fair exhibit and it's easy to get swept up in the "Let's build more dinosaur statues!" hype but eventually the fair closes and you're left with nine great big dinosaur statues on your hands.

There was apparently some attempt to get the Smithsonian to take the herd but I guess there just wasn't enough room for this "Breakfast Club" of monsters, so Sinclair tried to put them to work.

It was time to hit the road.  A few of the specimens went on tour.  This was a little before my time but if I, as a young lad, heard about a touring troupe of fiberglass beasties, I would have totally been into that.

I imagine there's a huge amount of novelty that comes along with the job of driving a giant brontosaurus around on a flatbed trailer, but I would also imagine that once that novelty wears off, it doesn't come back.  So eventually the gang needed a forever home.

Which brings us back to the Lone Star state.  There was a lobbying effort to get a couple of dinosaur statues at what would eventually become the "Dinosaur Capital of Texas" and the oil company decided that the free publicity that comes with donating giant dinosaurs is much better than the costs of storing giant dinosaurs and the prehistory...

If you plan to visit the park, I would definitely recommend it.  Mother Nature did a great job of crafting a great little getaway spot with cool dinosaur tracks to see and cool water to swim in.

Our two friends eventually got some company in town as the area embraced the modern stone age philosophy and and other statures can be seen at the nearby Dinosaur World park and outside the Glen Rose visitors center.

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