Sometimes you find to those parks and they just feel like stepping in to another time. Oh, you thought I meant prehistoric times, oh my, no! I meant 1960s roadside America. When mom, dad, and the kids would pile in the station wagon and stop at places like this on their way to their Aunt’s house. The kind of middle of nowhere attraction that predates cell phones and handheld video games. When you needed to break up that long trip to Aunt Edna’s this was just the place! Best of all, you can still visit it today-this is Dinosaur Land!
Dinosaur Land is the kind of place we might see in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, but if you are travelling through the Shenandoah Valley, you should swing on in for a retro good time. The park opened in the 1960s and is still well maintained today, without losing any of it’s vintage charm. Guests can take a self guided walking tour through the wooded park and where you’ll encounter many dinosaurs-some scary, and some downright silly. Aside from the expected Dinos, you’ll also find a giant Shark, a huge Octopus, a massive mantis, larger than life snakes, and several other prehistoric beasts!
Nineteen of the exhibits here were made by Mark Cline and some depict gory battles and death scenes of desperate-eyed dinosaurs caught in the teeth of a larger predator. Cline credits this park with inspiring to sculpt, and he later went on to open his own dinosaur park, Dinosaur Kingdom.
We visited on the 4th of July last year and although it was a hot balmy day in Virginia, we were cool and shaded under the trees. There were plenty of benches to rest along the walk and lots of shade to relax in. Take a slow walk back through time and check this place out. Of course there was a great gift shop with everything from sewing kits, to coin purses and leather goods. I bought anything that looked like it had been sitting here since 1960! Mod Betty took some great photos of the gift shop on her Retro Roadmap blog, which were an excellent scouting tool for seeking out those vintage goodies!
If you are looking to make a day of it, you can make the drive to Harper’s Ferry in about 40 minutes, where you can see the extraordinarily creepy John Brown Wax Museum! Hey kids, do you want to see a wax corpse hanging in a creaky old house built in the 1800s? Then this place is for you! The museum opened in 1963, and even the bravest among you will be looking over your shoulder the entire time you are there. Have fun road-trippers!