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If you’re travelling through the southwest Virginia, and you’re getting close to Lexington, then there is a detour you must plan to make. Especially if you have kids who love dinosaurs.

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Opened this year, the Dinosaur Kingdom II is the theme park sequel to The Dinosaur Kingdom, both of which are/were brainchildren of Lexington’s own Mark Cline, who also created the infamous Foamhenge, a replica of Stonehenge made entirely of styrofoam. And as the brochure says, this is not your father’s dinosaur park.

In my three year old son’s case, this is certainly true. When I was about five years old, my family stopped at a dinosaur park on one of our summer vacations, and it was – as I remember it – simply large fiberglass dinosaurs standing around looking dinosaury. The Dinosaur Kingdom II is far, far from being so pedestrian. In fact, it’s like nothing you will have seen before.

This is a dinosaur park with a story, and it is a story that is so freaking creative and hilarious, that you can’t help but love what Cline has built in the woods close to Natural Bridge.

Just to give you a taste, here is what the brochure says:

It’s 1864. Them wacky Yankees is at it again! Tryin’ to use living dinosaurs as weapons of mass destruction against the South. But ole’ Dixie has more than a few tricks still left up her sleeve.

Experience a wooded, walking adventure of the wildest, weirdest, craziest dinosaur park the Washington Post has called Amazing! Brilliant! Hilarious! This is definitely not your father’s dinosaur park!

Our visit to the Dinosaur Kingdom II was even more interesting considering that just a week before, my family had been in Williamstown, Kentucky, attending the opening of the new Ark Encounter park (a lifesize replica of Noah’s Ark constructed by Answers in Genesis, a young earth Creationist ministry – read my review here).

Like the Dinosaur Kingdom II, The Ark Encounter also imagines that humans and dinosaurs co-existed, with dinosaurs as passengers on Noah’s Ark. But a big difference is that as far as I can tell, Mark Cline doesn’t actually believe that Yankee soldiers woke up dinosaurs during the Civil War and used them against the Confederacy.

And interestingly, even thought the Ark Encounter had a budget over $100 million dollars, it was nowhere near as entertaining as Mark Cline’s little dinosaur park in the woods of Virginia.

But pictures speak louder than words, so enjoy my virtual tour of Mark Cline’s Dinosaur Kingdom II, and then plan to go see it for yourself.

 

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