Are you eagerly awaiting next week’s theatrical release of Jurassic World? In Kiddieland, we love larger than life dinosaurs too, and we’ve been visiting dinosaur parks long before it was the focus of this summer’s big blockbuster! The Jurassic Park films imagine an attraction with life sized living, breathing dinosaurs, but did you know you can visit such a place today!…except for well-OK so they don’t move or breath-But trust us, it is still a pretty incredible sight to behold!
You won’t believe your eyes when you step back 200 million years into Dinosaur Kingdom! Opened in 2003 in Cave City Kentucky off Route 65, this park harkens back to earlier roadside attractions like Dinosaur Land in VA. Classically designed billboards and giant highway adjacent dinosaurs call out to drivers encouraging them to stop. The park takes the best of the old roadside and updates it as a fun self-paced walk-through under lush and shady trees. (A welcome refuge in the KY summer heat!)
Although this attraction is less than 15 years old, The entrance feels like a movie set attempting to recreate the look and feel of a 1960s attraction and reminded me of something out of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure! Something is so perfect and clean about it, yet it is reminiscent of ballyhoo entertainment from a bygone era. It looks like a place you might see in an old postcard at a vintage shop, but you can actually step inside.
Once you enter, you’ll see dinosaurs doing all sorts of odd jobs. Some point visitors to the gift shop is, some double as playground equipment, and others take on the very dirty job of cleaning up the smoking section.
Don’t be fooled by these silly characters though, once inside you will see breathtaking views of life-sized, realistically portrayed prehistoric creatures; many of them taller than the large trees that cover the property.
The concrete walkways on the self-guided “Dinosaur Walk” include benches, so I recommend taking it slow on your visit to this 20 acre park. There are over 150 dinosaurs, so take breaks and enjoy it, and be sure to take plenty of photos! Aside from other passing families, my time spent here was very serene and peaceful. I almost wish I’d brought a book or a picnic lunch (encouraged by the park since there are no food stands). Small children can take time to learn about each dinosaur on educational plaques near the display, while mom and dad can take pictures of these giant creatures along the way.
Take a little time extra time to appreciate the exceptional attention to detail and lifelike features of some of these charismatic characters. Look at their faces long enough, and you could almost swear that they’re alive!
Aside from the main walk, The park also features a Boneyard where visitors can uncover a 27 foot dinosaur under the sand. There’s a Skeleton Garden, and a Fossil Dig too. There is also a dedicated picnic area and of course, a Gift shop! We found all sorts of vintage trinkets hiding in corners of the shop.
There are plenty of other nearby attractions to make the trip worthwhile, but we’re sad to report that the longstanding Guntown Mountain and its famous “Haunted Hotel” which was once across the street has recently closed. The silver lining is that it looks like some folks are working on preserving and revitalizing the old park and it is soon to be re-opened as “Funtown Mountain” later this month. We’ll be watching this, as Guntown Mountain was closed for the day by the time we left Dinosaur World and I never got to go inside…roadside regrets.
The park is open daily (Except Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM and is absolutely worth the stop! Check it out the next time you’re travelling down Route 65, or visiting Mammoth Cave. You can’t miss it, just look for the giant Dinosaurs beckoning you from the side of the road.