Last year, plans for a dinosaur park on Culver Parade in Sandown, the Isle of Wight, were halted, following several years of talks between the council and Dinosauria, a German theme park operator, after it was decided that the proposed site was too small.
However, the Isle of Wight Council is now considering a new project for the seafront, Biosphere in the Bay, while it looks at other possible sites for the dinosaur park investment.
Eco-tourism for the Isle of Wight
At the council’s neighbourhoods and regeneration scrutiny committee on 6 Jan 2022, Cllr Jonathan Bacon, cabinet member for the environment and heritage, revealed that they have been looking at a project called ‘Biosphere in the Bay’ for the Culver Parade site, as reported by Island Echo. This is a project that had been floated in 2020 initially and was then paused as a result of the pandemic.
“The vision for the Biosphere in the Bay project includes making the Culver Parade area more attractive to visitors interested in the area’s unique landscape, wildlife and history; attracting a greater share of the increasing eco-tourism sector,” said Bacon.
On the topic of the dinosaur park investment, Bacon added that the attraction would benefit the whole island, and the council did not want to risk losing it by concentrating on a specific area that was not suitable. Last year, the £33m redevelopment plans was called a “Disneyland opportunity” by Cllr Dave Stewart.
Redevelopment of Dinosaur Isle Museum
The existing Dinosaur Isle museum, designed by Rainey Petrie Johns, was the first custom-built dinosaur museum in Europe.
Jeremy Lockwood, the retired GP turned palaeontologist, who made headlines last year when he discovered two new species of dinosaurs on the island, is currently coordinating the bid to redevelop the Dinosaur Isle museum.
“I’m trying to take over the museum,” Lockwood said in a recent interview with The Guardian. “The Isle of Wight undersells its dinosaurs. Most people are unaware that we’re Europe’s hotspot for dinosaurs and early mammals. We need a much bigger museum.”