Dinosaur Park, Rapid City, South Dakota
July 21, 2017
We were on vacation in Colorado during the last two weeks of May 2017. Earlier in the year I decided I wanted to give my wife something special for her birthday. Normally, she wants nothing and that’s one of the things that I love about her and one of the things that can be very frustrating to a man who want to do nice things for his wife. After some thought, I concluded that I would take her to Devil’s Tower on our forthcoming trip.
“Wait a minute!” I hear you say. “This isn’t Devil’s Tower I’m looking at!” No. It isn’t. I’ll write about that and the road trip we took elsewhere.
Anyhow, I was sitting in our motel room in Hulett, Wyoming browsing through a South Dakota tourist guide when I happened upon an ad for the Dinosaur Park. I was so excited. You see, I have always loved dinosaurs and, as I’ve grown older, I love vintage dinos even more. I knew of this place from magazines, websites, and research into roadside America. When I found out we were only an hour and a half away, I had to go!
I’m not sure how keen the rest of my family was to view 80 year old concrete dinosaurs but my mania was not to be denied. The drive to Rapid City was a pleasant one and the scenery is outstanding. The park is signposted so it wasn’t hard to find. The first two dinos to be seen are protoceratops and dimetrodon. Both of them are charmingly old-fashioned with the former displaying the most authentic appearance.
You have to cross the road and ascend a flight of stairs to get to the main park. A visitor cannot help but notice the brontosaurus commanding its position above the city. Yes, I said brontosaurus even though the sign now says apatosaurus. Believe me, it helped keep the retro feel going. I love the bronto and he gives the impression of being an icon for all vintage parks of this flavor. I loved it so much I took several pictures of it most of which do not appear here.
We continued our trek up the stairs where we encountered the anatosaurus. Actually, we passed him rather quickly but photographed him on our way out. My son, who has never been a fan of dinosaurs before (though he does like Jurassic Park and Jurassic World) seemed to be enjoying himself even taking the time to climb onto the T-rex and triceratops. My wife, the trip photographer, faithfully executed her assignment snapping many pictures for future enjoyment. She even appears in one or two.
The views from the top of the hill are breathtaking. The view below is looking west. One thing I miss about my motherland is the scenery. Sometimes it just seems to go on forever causing a stirring in your heart to strike out for far horizons.
Did I mention I love the brontosaurus?
Here’s the anatosaurus with my son doing a poor job of hiding. There is also a stegosaurus but, sadly, none of our photos of it were that good. I guess I’ll have to go back.
I would recommend visiting the park especially if you have any dino-loving children regardless of their age. It’s only a small place but has loads of character and a nice gift shop where food can be bought. The website is here.