A new park on Western Michigan University’s main campus in Kalamazoo features several large dinosaur models on display free to the public.
Located next to Rood Hall, the “Dinosaur Park” has six models already, with plans to add another this summer.
Geological and environmental sciences professor Robb Gillespie says the park is intended to help Western students with their education - and interest kids in science.
“I figured, we can put rocks out there, we can build sequences, we can set up structures of rock. But at the same time, if we put some dinosaurs out there, we would have a hook to bring in the kids and the two would work great together.”
Gillespie says planning for the dinosaur park started five years ago but was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think we’d still be shut down except for the fact that five or six weeks ago, all of a sudden, parents and children started showing up at the park, and we were a little surprised we didn’t know what had caught fire.”
Gillespie says the park was discovered by the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, which mentioned it their kids newsletter. After that, the number of visitors took off.
Gillespie says a recent addition to the park is interactive dinosaur footprints.
“We’re going to have pathways, and the pathways are going to have stepping-stones in them that are dinosaur footprints, so the dinosaur footprints will tell a story. Each dinosaur will have its’ own unique set of footprints. They will intertwine along the path as the dinosaurs would have maybe crossed paths or walked in and out of the area.”
Gillespie says most of the dinosaur park will be finished this fall. The university plans to hold an official groundbreaking ceremony in late 2021.