Where Dinosaurs Roam the Earth, Still
65 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed the planet. In Rapid City, South Dakota, dinosaurs roam the Earth still!
Dinosaur Park is located on a sandstone cliff that encircles the Black Hills, and it houses seven life-sized replicas of the creatures that once ruled the kingdom of Earth. The landscape has certainly changed over the past 65 million years, but if you close your eyes and truly imagine it, you can see the dinosaurs of the region grazing on some of the plants of the Black Hills, or a T-Rex making its way across the Badlands.
A Digger’s Dream
Dinosaur bones have indeed been found in South Dakota. The Hogback Ridge, which forms the outer boundary of the Black Hills and where Dinosaur Park is located, has turned up dinosaur bones from the late Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods. The largest bones found belong to the Barosaurus lentus, while the smallest ones belong to Trooden formosa, measuring 5.5 feet. The Trooden formosa is a small creature with a bird-like skull.
Go Back in Time
Today, visitors can get an up-close-and-personal look at massive concrete sculptures of some of South Dakota’s most famous dinosaurs. There’s the Apatosaurus, whose long neck served the purpose of snatching leaves from high branches, and the Triceratops, a smaller, three-horned dinosaur.
Most impressively is the dinosaur we all love and fear, the Tyrannosaurus. With its fast speed and huge teeth, the Tyrannosaurus was one of the most fierce and carnivorous predators.
Dinosaur Park is on the national register of historic places. Visitors can enjoy not only the towering sculptures, but also the panoramic 100-mile views of the landscape that these creatures once roamed. Don’t forget to check out the gift shop to stock up on souvenirs and keepsakes from your trip when you’re finished.
Did You Know?
There are some reptiles today that are linked ancestrally to their dinosaur past. Alligators and crocodiles are a few, and snakes and lizards are more distantly related. If you’re looking to see some of the dinosaurs’ living kin, head on down to Reptile Gardens and check out their variety of fun and interesting reptiles.
Dino Fun for Everyone
It’s hard to believe that the world was once ruled by these massive animals, and that humans are just a drop in the bucket in the great span of history. At Dinosaur Park in Rapid City, SD, the giant life-sized replicas will humble you as you walk among them. You can imagine yourself living with them, riding a Triceratops or running from a T-Rex amid the vast landscape of South Dakota.
Location & Hours
Dinosaur Park is located at 940 Skyline Drive in Rapid City, South Dakota. It’s open in the summer from 8 am to 8 pm, and in the off-season from 9 am to 5 pm. Entrance is free so the whole family can enjoy the fun.