During a mid-August trip to visit family, I got a hankering to go see the dinosaurs. One of my favorite childhood places, it had been years since I'd climbed up the hill.
|The stegosaurus is popular with kids|
Dinosaur Park, as it's officially known, was constructed in the 1930's as a depression-era WPA project. These large concrete and steel structures were meant to be life-size reproductions of prehistoric creatures whose fossils were found nearby. The park was dedicated in 1936, the same year my Dad was born (hence the family joke that he's "as old as the dinosaurs.")
|My brother and I liked climbing on him too|
From the parking lot, ascending a long stone staircase leads one to five large dino sculptures. First, a duck-billed platypus, with a stegosaurus neighbor. Further up the path, a Tyrannosaurus Rex shares the concrete patio with a Triceratops. On the very top of the hill, a giant brontosaurus rises towards the sky. This huge life-size dinosaur anchors the skyline, and is visible all over town. It's a Rapid City landmark.
|Stegosaurus extreme close-up|
Growing up, my family took many trips to Dinosaur Hill. A free city park, it was a great way to spend a summer afternoon. The smaller dinosaurs were perfect to climb upon and the tails of the larger ones provided nice seats. Kids could clamber over the dino sculptures to their heart's content and no one minded.
And the views from on top of Dinosaur hill can't be beat! On a clear day, one can see the entire city of Rapid City spread out below, plus 100 miles beyond in all directions. On the day of my visit, I captured a great shot of adjacent "M" Hill, which I climbed with my folks last year.
|Sunset on the Brontosaurus|
The brontosaurus is the most amazing of the sculptures. He stands 80 feet long and 28 feet high. A mighty animal indeed!
|Siting under the dino's rear end|
The brontosaurus was, and still is, my favorite dinosaur in the park. I have fond memories of playing underneath his tree-sized legs, and sitting on the massive tail.
|The fearsome T-Rex|
The T-Rex, although supposedly a fierce dinosaur, looks awfully friendly at this park. It almost appears he's smiling.
And he likes to play peekaboo too!
|A favorite childhood pastime - sitting on the dinosaur's tails|
One of my favorite old photos of dinosaur park, here's me, two of my brothers, and my cousin sitting in the crook of a dinosaur tail. As you can tell, I'm the one not looking at the camera! Guess that's why I'm usually behind the lens instead of in front of it.
|I'm still a kid at heart!|
I revert to a little kid when it comes to the dinosaurs, and still love climbing on their well-worn faces.
|My brothers and I ride Proceratops|
Down by the parking lot, there's a large gift shop, and two more smaller dino sculptures. A Proceratops, with his helmet-shaped head, just begs to be ridden.
|My hubby goes for a ride|
Sometimes even my hubby is a kid at heart!
|My cousin and I playing on the Dimetrodon|
There's also a sail-finned Dimetrodon. A small enough dinosaur for little kids to clamber all over, even sitting on top of his head. My brothers used to pose for silly photos with their heads in this guy's mouth.
I found out my head no longer fits in the Dimetron's mouth. And I'm a little big to sit on top of him. But for a funny photo, the legs work nicely.
|Good night from Dinosaur Hill|
As the sun began to set on a warm August South Dakota night, I bid Dinosaur Hill goodbye for another year. But it was fun to revisit the past in a place full of great childhood memories.
Sharing with: Weekly Top Shot.