Dinosaur Park is an amusement park located in Plant City, Florida.
The amusement park opened in 1998 and the idea was conceived by Swedish-born Christer Svensson, on a site that had been previously home to another amusement park called Gator Jungle which had closed down 2 years earlier.
The amusement park features 150 giant dinosaur sculptures which are made out of polystyrene plastic which is covered with fibreglass. Each year, around 3 dinosaur replica models are added at a cost of $30, 000 each.
Originally, Christer had wanted to build his amusement park closer to Walt Disney World to attract more visitors but site prices at Disney ran to around $2.5 million whereas in more rural Plant City, he was able to buy the land for a tenth of that price.
Nevertheless, Plant City is hardly located on the typical Florida holidaymaker’s tourist map and only really gets busy with tourists during its annual Florida Strawberry Festival with it reputed to be the winter strawberry capital of the world. Therefore, Christer had to think of a novel way in which he could promote his amusement park which he did to great effect.
Rather than renting several advertisement billboards at great cost like many other amusement parks do whereby the repetitive billboards count down the number of miles to the attraction at several intervals along the interstate, Christer decided to promote his dinosaur amusement park by simply installing two 40 foot high replicas of Tyrannosaurus Rex and a 28 foot high Brachiosaurus replica on Interstate 4 by the amusement park between Tampa and Orlando and they have proven so successful in attracting visitors that there has been very little need for additional advertising elsewhere. In fact, these roadside dinosaurs attract around 200, 000 visitors to the amusement park each year.
In addition to the dinosaur replicas, the amusement park also features an educational film about how the dinosaurs are made and there is also a fossil hunt for children.
The amusement park’s success has continued without the need for gizmos, high-tech thrill rides and effects more commonly used to attract visitors. In fact, Christer once installed some sound effects behind a dinosaur to make it even more life-like but had to remove it as it ended up scaring the children. He puts the amusement park’s success down to other attractions such as Barney the dinosaur who has become treasured by younger children and created an urge in them to find out more about dinosaurs in general.
Amusement Parks: Jungle Island – a Potted History
Amusement Parks: Wet ‘N’ Wild – a Potted History
Amusement Parks: Weeki Wachee Springs State Park – a Potted History
Amusement Parks: Universal’s Islands of Adventure – a Potted History