Monday, July 12, 2010

Dinosaur State Park

I've been trying to take the boys on outings Saturday and Sunday mornings. It's good for all of us to get out, plus poor Jason has been working overnights on the weekends, and if we're gone, a.) he has half a chance to catch up on sleep and b.) I don't get annoyed trying to be quiet until 3 in the afternoon. A few weeks ago, we went to the Dinosaur Park in Rocky Hill, CT. This dino park is all about tracks, not bones. They were excavating to build some state building, and the backhoe driver lifted a layer of rocks to reveal the tracks. He knew what they were, notified the authorities, and within 6 months it was declared a state park.
I've been hearing friends say that they went there and had a good time. So far, no one has really described their visit. I'll try to do that here. We took the stroller, with attached Valco stroller board for Jackson to ride on. This was fortuitous. You enter through the gift shop, and the museum is arranged as a loop around the tracks, which are enclosed in a giant auditorium like building with a dino-statue and dino-mural behind. The lights are dim, and playing very loudly is a soundtrack to dino-noises. Jackson was notably frightened and had a death grip on the stroller handles. It's good that he was riding on the stroller board, because I don't believe his feet would've been able to carry him.
Shortly after we entered the museum, they started a claymation dino-cartoon. The cashier said it was geared toward little ones, so I brought Jackson to see it with him protesting the whole time (I think he was pretty anxious to get out of there!) I told Jackson we could leave if he hated the movie after it started. He refused to get off of the stroller board, but he had to turn and look over his shoulder to see the movie, and by the end, he had stepped off the board to turn around and sit on it. I'm not sure he ever broke contact with the stroller. The movie itself was unexpected. It was premised on the idea of a book report presentation at school, with some scenes written on a chalk board. Here are a couple of pictures from it, that I took as a visual aid to describe the surrealness of the whole adventure.
Seeing the movie broke the ice a little with Jackson, he didn't leave the stroller, but he was a little more excited to see the rest of the small museum. We did walk quickly along the last stretch—a bridge over the tracks that gets pretty close to the dino-statue.  You can see it in the picture (see the man in silhouette in front of the mural).

The park has extensive trails you can walk on. We didn't because the stroller isn't for offroading, and it was also a really hot day. You can make casts of some of the tracks if you bring your own 5 gallon bucket, ¼ cup of vegetable oil, and 10 pounds of plaster. (Apparently they can't sell a kit for this in the gift shop?!) Or you can buy a little bag of dirt with gemstone fragments and/or fossils and sluice for treasures. We went for this. Jackson would sluice all day if I let him. His technique is to load the trays up with mud, run it under the fountain, and then mound even more dirt on it for the next round. I rescued the arrow head and shiny rocks from the sluice, Jack couldn't care less about the treasure, he's all about the dirt and water.

Jonah slept through the whole trip.

1 comment:

  1. Did they charge extra for all the fun hands on activites? The dinosaur park here does and everytime we go I hear all about how after we pay to get in the kids want me to pay an extra $5-6 each to pan for gold or search for gemstones.