Friday, June 22, 2018
Travel

Dinosaur World's expansion of prehistoric proportions

PLANT CITY — Dinosaurs are still extinct, but the look of Dinosaur World is brand new.

The attraction on Wednesday opened a 12-acre expansion that includes a new museum, gift shop, playground area and lifelike dinosaurs that move.

The nearly $4 million project is the largest ever for the 13-year-old park founded by Swedish businessman Christer Svennson. Visitors who enjoyed the Florida kitsch experience before have considerably more to try out.

"We've always loved it because it's clean and shady, but this is incredible,'' said Angie Brunson, who attended opening day with her children Brodie, 5, and Bailey, 3. "The gift shop is so tempting.''

The park kept the 1-mile dinosaur walk through lush Florida landscape but revamped everything else, from the parking lot to the fossil dig.

It upped ticket prices about $2 — to $14.95 for adults, $11.95 for children 3 to 12 and $12.95 for seniors.

The changes start at the front gate, where five dinosaurs perched on a new archway greet guests. Visitors buy tickets at a new, 5,000-square-foot gift shop that sells everything from dinosaur toys and T-shirts to snow globes to polished stones.

The gift shop opens to a grassy courtyard with 25-foot-tall dinosaurs, two playgrounds and a covered picnic area with more than 20 tables. Moms will be happy to see the park bought several new tire swings. They were a hit in the old playground, and you don't see groupings of them around town.

The highlight of the expansion is the 22,000-square-foot Prehistoric Museum, clearly visible from Interstate 4. The museum displays authentic dinosaur artifacts, from a triceratops toe to a spinosaurus tooth. Large posters educate visitors on dino-facts.

Another change is the museum's five animatronic dinosaurs that move and roar. Lowry Park Zoo had similar creatures in a temporary exhibit last year, but they were larger and outdoors. The ones at Dinosaur World can still be scary to toddlers but are a huge hit among older kids, especially watchers of Nick Jr.'s Dino Dan.

The park moved and expanded the popular fossil dig and increased its herd of dinosaurs from 150 to about 200. It kept the movie cave and the boneyard area for uncovering skeletal remains hidden in the sand.

Eventually, the attraction wants to add a mammoth exhibit in the old playground area and convert the former gift shop into exhibit space.

Comments
Puerto Vallarta is a dreamy Mexican getaway within reach

Puerto Vallarta is a dreamy Mexican getaway within reach

LOREN ELLIOTT • Times CorrespondentPUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICOThe third-floor balcony attached to our rented apartment served as a peaceful refuge above Puerto Vallarta’s bustling central district streets. Below us, taxis honked, people crowded bus ...
Published: 06/15/18
High-tech nighttime lagoon show coming to Universal Orlando this summer

High-tech nighttime lagoon show coming to Universal Orlando this summer

A gliding, wraith-like figure of a Dementor from the Harry Potter films enters Central Park, and the exteriors of the surrounding buildings immediately are covered in a layer of ice, a sign of their power to drain happiness out of the air around them...
Published: 06/14/18
Frito and Cheeto: How rescued seahorses found webcam fame

Frito and Cheeto: How rescued seahorses found webcam fame

Smile for the camera, Frito. The world is watching, and you have a story to tell. The tiny seahorse came to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on Sunday with fishing line wrapped around her neck. By Wednesday, she became the CMA’s newest internet ...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18
Busch Gardens brings back fireworks, free Adventure Island pass with Fun Card

Busch Gardens brings back fireworks, free Adventure Island pass with Fun Card

Back "by popular demand" Busch Gardens has announced the Tampa theme park will once again have a fireworks on weekends this summer, and the park also brought back its deal that gets you a free pass to Adventure Island water park with the purchase of ...
Published: 06/12/18
SeaWorld bans plastic bags, straws to combat ocean pollution

SeaWorld bans plastic bags, straws to combat ocean pollution

Collin the sea turtle, with a belly full of plastic garbage, may have been the last straw. SeaWorld announced all its parks and properties, including Busch Gardens in Tampa and Sesame Place, will ban plastic drinking straws and plastic bags. The anno...
Published: 06/12/18
Universal to have a record 10 haunted houses for Halloween Horror Nights

Universal to have a record 10 haunted houses for Halloween Horror Nights

Universal Orlando has announced that there will be a record 10 haunted houses for this year’s edition of Halloween Horror Nights. They haven’t all been revealed yet, but there will be a maze based on the first season of Netflix’s Stranger Things and ...
Published: 06/11/18
I went all the way to Seattle to discover the true meaning of Starbucks

I went all the way to Seattle to discover the true meaning of Starbucks

SEATTLE -- Every Starbucks experience in my life has been roughly the same. I wait in a never-unreasonable line to order. I squint at soulless foodstuff. Some soft pop plays. I order. I wait a never-unreasonable amount of time for my beverage and sn...
Updated one month ago
‘Seven Magic Mountains’ near Las Vegas is an Instagram dream

‘Seven Magic Mountains’ near Las Vegas is an Instagram dream

We have all come to this spot in the desert for one thing: Seven Magic Mountains.Two years ago last month, the large-scale public artwork by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone rose on this stretch of land roughly 30 minutes south of the Las Vegas Strip. The ...
Updated one month ago
Busch Gardens, SeaWorld running flash sales with price cut of $40 or more

Busch Gardens, SeaWorld running flash sales with price cut of $40 or more

Busch Gardens and SeaWorld are running a flash sale that can save you $40 or more for single-day or annual tickets, but the sale ends Sunday. Busch Gardens is selling single-day tickets for $45, but they must be used by July 1. For $59, a Fun Card gi...
Updated one month ago
With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

TAMPA — Behind the construction walls near the carousel at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, hammers, saws and power drills made a racket in the blazing Friday heat. A raft full of 100-pound water jugs took test trips on the new Roaring Springs ride set to deb...
Updated one month ago