Tuesday, May 29, 2012

misadventures in dinosaur land

Last Saturday Kris and I took a day trip out towards the Shenandoah Valley to visit the Blandy experimental Farm/State Arboretum, Dinosaur Land, and Old Town Winchester, Virginia. Our visit to the Arboretum was cut short unfortunately, after Kris, who has an incredible phobia of snakes, saw a warning sign about snakes possibly hiding behind the (many) rocks in the park. That's OK, 'cause I've been there before and spent lots of time drawing and taking photos. Old Town was great too, as I used to live out that way for a couple of years, and we discovered an amazing little book store and Thai restaurant, both of which didn't exist when I lived there eight or so years ago. While the highlight for Kris was probably meeting up with her friend at the Potomac Bead Company, mine was without a doubt, Dinosaur Land. This place is Americana at its best, a massive collection of those big old, sometimes awkward prehistoric beast sculptures you'd find scattered along Route 66. What I love about this place is that you have to enter through the gift shop to get into the actual park itself, which is a giant T-Rex mouth! The gifts are very cool too, as many of them are toys I saw when I was just a boy, and some of which were around when my parents were kids as well. The park itself was really nice too, full of many trees providing lots of cool shade on an otherwise hot, sunny day. The statues were set up well throughout the park , most of them being the classic, disproportionate old-school replicas, while others were more current, anatomically correct models. While the park claims to be an educational experience, I'm sure most people, kids and adults alike go there for pure fun more than anything. There are no motorized parts on the beasts, some of which aren't even dinosaurs, and don't expect any fancy sounds.  That's the very charm and appeal of this place, which takes you back to a time when no humans walked the earth, as well as to a time when folks had a chance to use their own imaginations. This was my second visit to Dinosaur Land, and it was well worth the five dollar admission ticket to be a kid again. 

And of course, I simply had to include the opening song to my favorite childhood show of all time, the original Land of the Lost brought to you by Syd and Marty Krofft. Enjoy!