On May 22, 1936, a herd of dinosaurs officially made their home in Rapid City, South Dakota, and they haven’t moved since. No need to feel alarmed though! There is no Jurassic Park situation going on here! The hill-top Rapid City Dinosaur Park is merely a playground for giant green cartoon-like sculptures — not real reptiles!
The dinosaur park in rapid city was built in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration and, in 1990, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of Interior.
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The iron, wire, and concrete-constructed sculptures were designed by Emmet Sullivan and were originally gray in color. In the 1950s they were repainted bright green with white details and not much, besides a little wear and tear from children climbing them, has changed since.
Five dinosaurs climb the hill at the South Dakota dinosaur park: a Triceratops, a Stegosaurus, an Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus), a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and an Anatotitan.
Two others were added later near the gift shop: a Protoceratops and a Dimetrodon.
The Brontosaurus is the largest of the creatures found at the Rapid City SD dinosaur park: at 80-feet long and 28-feet high and stands high above the rest. In fact, it can be seen from anywhere in the town!
The dinosaur roadside attraction was crafted to capitalize on the tourists coming in to see nearby Mount Rushmore, but it is definitely a must-see for any Silly American adventurers out there who want to see some kitschy fun! Kids and adults alike have loved Rapid City Dinosaur Park since the 1930s…and these dinos aren’t going extinct anytime soon!
On a South Dakota road trip and can’t get enough dinosaurs? Be sure to stop for gas at Sinclair and check out the Sinclair Oil Dinosaur! Also make time to stop and see the men made from tires, Cosmos Mystery Area, and Storybook Island while in Rapid City!
Rapid City Dinosaur Park
Location: 940 Skyline Drive, Rapid City, South Dakota
Hours: Daylight Hours.
Advisory: Steep flagstone stairs may limit handicapped accessibility.
Date: August 30, 2008