Prehistoric Land, Etc.

Dells Prehistoric Land


Over the years seemingly countless “dinosaur parks” have sprung up in North America and also other other continents — and I’ve been to a lot of them, most of them having gift shops selling prehistoric items of varying qualiy.

Apparently the first such display to open following the one in Rapid City was E. V. Nelson’s  Prehistoric Gardens near Gold Beach, OR. Prehistoric Gardens opened on January 1, 1955.  Among the earliest such parks in the USA, after Dinosaur Park in Rapid City, was the Prehistoric Land, part of the Enchanted Forrest attraction at the Wisconsin Dells This park started up in the mid-1950s. The dinosaur figures, sculpted by Dick Day, were strongly influenced by the ones sculped by Emmet Sullivan for Dinosaur Park. Prehistoric Land no longer exists, except in family photos, personal memories and also  postcards like these.



There are way too many “prehistoric parks” to do them justice on this website. However, the following stereopticon view (ca. 1910) is especially interesting, being both of one of the very earliest such parks (1909) and also being in 3D (“reverse cross” your eyes to make it work). The image is of a full-scale Diplodocus, based upon a design by artist Charles R. Knight, part of animal collector Carl Hagenbeck’s prehistoric menagerie displayed at Tiergarten at Stellingen, near Hamberg, Germany. This statue — and others — are still standing today.







Thunder Beast Park, Chiloquin, Oregon, was devoted only to prehistoric mammals.

Thunderbeast Park


Every image on the below montage of souvenir postcards represents a different “prehistoric park” — and there are many more of both parks and cards.