Emil Galasso, vice president and co-owner of Howe Caverns, Inc., unveiled plans for an unprecedented new park at the world-famous Howe Caverns in Cobleskill, New York.
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The announcement was made at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo in Orlando, Florida. A major component will be Dinosaur Canyon, a walk-through outdoor attraction that will offer visitors the opportunity to interact with prehistoric giants of the past. Howe Development LLC, which is handling the expansion, has asked Garner Holt Productions, Inc. to work with them to complete the concept design and to take the project through installation. Preliminary concept design was provided by Stufish and McClaren Engineering Group.
“My vision is to create a destination resort, ” explained Galasso. “Right now, even during these tough economic times, we’re getting nearly 200, 000 visitors a year to Howe Caverns. We want to give them more to do while they’re here. Dinosaur Canyon will help us to become a true destination attraction. I feel like we’re bringing a bit of Disney to upstate New York.”
Phase 1 is already underway, with plans for some venues to be open in the 2011 season.
Dinosaur Canyon will be located on twenty acres adjacent to Howe Caverns, a popular attraction for almost two centuries and the largest cave open to the public in the Northeast. Plans call for over two dozen highly realistic dinosaurs, situated in rock chasms, caverns and valleys. As they stroll along a pathway, visitors will encounter a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex, a herd of gentle Parasaurolophus, soaring Pterodactyls and many other prehistoric species.
With a company such as Garner Holt Productions known worldwide for their Disney-quality figures, the inhabitants of Dinosaur Canyon promise to be the most astounding animatronic dinosaurs ever built.
“We’re pulling out all the stops to create the most amazing, life-like dinosaurs since their living forebears walked the planet sixty-six million years ago, ” said Garner Holt, CEO of Garner Holt Productions, Inc. “With our new silicone skin formulations and cutting-edge motion control system which creates exceptionally fluid movements, these creatures will stand up to intense scrutiny of leading scientists and even harsher critics – seven year old boys with a passion for dinosaurs.”
Dinosaur Canyon will offer more than entertainment in an incredible setting. Galasso is committed to bringing in a consortium of scientists and educators to put together a curriculum for school children which will enhance the value of the project overall. “The educational component is as important to me as entertainment, ” explained Galasso. “We have already established a close relationship with area schools by visits to our Cave House Museum of Mining & Geology as well as Howe Caverns. Dinosaur Canyon will continue that philosophy of discovery and learning.”
About Garner Holt Productions, Inc.
Garner Holt Productions, Inc. is known worldwide for design and manufacture of outstanding animatronics, show action equipment and special effects. Clients include Disney theme parks, Universal Studios, Movie Park Germany, Coca-Cola, NASA, Pacific Science Center, San Diego Museum of Natural History and Science City in Egypt. Founded in 1977, the company owns and operates a 60, 000 square foot full-service design and manufacturing facility in San Bernardino, California. Recent awards include the prestigious THEA, presented by TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) for Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at Disneyland. Event Design Magazine recently awarded Wild Kingdom Adventure Tour first place for outstanding mobile exhibit. For more information about Garner Holt Productions, visit www.garnerholt.com.
About Howe Caverns
Howe Caverns is the largest cave open to the public in the Northeast and welcomes close to 200, 000 guests each year. Howe Caverns is located midway between Albany and Cooperstown, off Exit 22 of I-88. Open daily, except Thanksgiving and Christmas days when it is closed, Howe Caverns’ winter hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For additional information, call 518-296-8900, or visit www.howecaverns.com.
Image: courtesy Garner Holt productions, inc. : Left to Right (Front) Garner Holt, President, Garner Holt Productions, Inc., Patricia Galasso, Emil Galasso. (back) – Robert Holt, General Manager of Howe Caverns; Far back right is animatronic Lester Howe, discoverer of Howe Caverns.