The Dinosaurs Devoted to Dixie | Science | Smithsonian
Current Issue
July / August 2014  magazine cover
Subscribe

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

The Dinosaurs Devoted to Dixie

In 1863, a group of paleontologists discovered an abandoned mine shaft in Natural Bridge, Virginia. They were shocked to find that it led to a lost world where dinosaurs still lived, a discovery of great interest to the Union Army. The Yankees devised a plan to unleash some of the toothy beasts aga...

smithsonian.com
Dinosaur Kingdom, courtesy of Flickr user Mr. Kimberly


In 1863, a group of paleontologists discovered an abandoned mine shaft in Natural Bridge, Virginia. They were shocked to find that it led to a lost world where dinosaurs still lived, a discovery of great interest to the Union Army. The Yankees devised a plan to unleash some of the toothy beasts against the Confederacy, but the dinosaurs, were not keen on complying. The carnage is captured at a roadside attraction called Dinosaur Kingdom:
As you enter, a lunging, bellowing T-Rex head lets you know that the dinosaurs are mad — and they only get madder. A big snake has eaten one Yankee, and is about to eat another. An Allasaurus grabs a bluecoat off of his rearing horse while a second soldier futilely tries to lasso the big lizard. Another Yankee crawls up a tree with a stolen egg while the mom dinosaur batters it down. Mark has augmented some of these displays with motors: toothy jaws flap, tails and tongues wag.
This is all fiction, of course; dinosaurs and humans never co-existed. The fiberglass monsters that are now seen in the park, though, have only recently begun munching on 19th century soldiers. They first appeared in the nearby town of Glasgow as part of a “ Town That Time Forgot” promotion. It was a success, and Dinosaur Kingdom is so outlandish that it almost has to be seen to be believed. The next time I’m traveling through Virginia, I think I might have to make a side trip.
About Brian Switek
Brian Switek

Brian Switek is a freelance science writer specializing in evolution, paleontology, and natural history. He writes regularly for National Geographic's Phenomena blog as Laelaps.

Read more from this author |

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus