A 14-acre dinosaur theme park – Field Station: Dinosaurs – is set to open next year in Derby, Wichita’s largest suburb.
The theme park will feature more than 30 life-size animatronic dinosaurs.
It will be arranged along the lines of a scientific experiment but will still keep the thrill factor high. Favourite dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops and Stegosaurus will be amongst the models featured.
The park’s executive director Guy Gsell says visitors will be able to dig for fossils and participate in events, rather than just walking past the huge dinosaur models.
The state of Kansas has a long history with modern palaeontology. “Kansas is like the birthplace of modern palaeontology,” says Gsell in a report by The Witchita Eagle. “You had your Bone Wars here, your most famous discoverers were here. Palaeontology as a science should resonate with Kansas.”
Field Station: Dinosaurs and family science tourism
The Bone Wars were also known as the Great Dinosaur Rush. They were a period of ruthless and competitive fossil hunting. The main rivalry was between Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh. Kansas is renowned for spectacular fossils. From the Cambrian to the Devonian period, the state was covered by a shallow sea. During the following Carboniferous period the water level fluctuated. It became home to many early amphibians and reptiles. Later on the environment turned to savannah while during the Ice Age, glaciers became home to sabretooth tigers and mammoths.
The theme park is being funded via a combination of private financing and Sales Tax Revenue bonds. The bonds are intended to act as an incentive to businesses to create destinations that draw in out-of-state visitors.
“Wichita has so many science attractions — Exploration Place, the Sedgwick County Zoo, the Kansas Aviation Museum, Tanganyika Wildlife Park,” says Gsell. “We think this is a great place for family science tourism, which is exactly what I do. We think this creates synergy for a number of top notch science attractions.”
This is the second Field Station: Dinosaurs theme park for Gsell, the first being in Secaucus, NJ.
The Kansas attraction is slated to open on Memorial Day, 28th May. A ticket will cost in the region of $15, with special offers, group rates and season tickets also be available.
Derby officials intend to use additional bond money for further development. A hospital, a hotel, restaurants and retail shops are planned.
Image: Field Station: Dinosaurs