My friends and I have a long running gag in which we tag each other on Facebook every time we pass the Plant City T-Rex poking his head out among the trees along I-4. What started out as a quick joke post has become a full-fledged tagfest with pokes, tags, and innuendos galore – and yet, none of us has ever ACTUALLY BEEN to Dinosaur World. None of us, that is, until now.
Situated on 20+ acres just east of the I-75/I-4 connector, Dinosaur World houses over 200 life-sized statues of dinosaurs under oak canopies. As you enter the park you’re greeted with two tot-lots for the kids, a sprawling courtyard with sidewalks, and picnic tables (bring your own food – they don’t sell anything edible onsite, unless you count fish food or vending machines as sources of sustenance). Displays are set up throughout the park with bridges over babbling streams taking you through the different eras; they even have a section devoted to woolly mammoths and prehistoric man.
I was surprised to find that they had lots of hands-on activities for the kids. We spent the first 45 minutes or so separating gems from dirt in a functional slough; temperatures that day were close to 90º so getting a little wet was a welcome experience. Feeding the massive koi was lots of fun and we rounded out the day with a fossil dig (we found real-life vertebrae fragments and sharks’ teeth).
I asked my 4-year old son what his favorite part of the whole trip was; he told me he liked the playground the best. My favorite part was watching my son’s face as he experienced life in the land of giants.