Dinosaur Park, Rapid City, South Dakota

When I was 11 years old, my Mom took me on a vacation to Rapid City, in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where we visited Dinosaur Park, located atop a hill overlooking the town. The statues were made in 1936 by local sculptor Emmet A. Sullivan.  This was the first of what would eventually numerous similar prehistoric parks. Below is just a small sampling of the numerous souvenir postcards (and other collectibles) issued about Dinosaur Park over the years.






Dinosaur Park  had a nice gift shop that sold, among other things, dinosaur models and real vertebrate fossils. Of course I bought and saved some of these items, including some postcards and pennants.

At this time I was just beginning to collect prehistoric items – some books, also a few metal and ceramic figures bought at museum gift shops in my home town of Chicago. Who could have guessed what the future would bring (including these souvenirs (e.g., cups and plates) featuring Dinosaur Park).








This was the first park of its kind in North America. There would be many more such prehistoric parks over the years and decades.












There were (and would  be) many attractions in the Black Hills of South Dakota that of interest to paleontology and geology enthusiasts, including a “petrified forest.” And. of course, we also had a tour through the fossil-rich Badlands.