A 30-foot gray apatasaurus and a smaller orange tyrannosaurus rex rise out of the trees along Interstate 4, inviting motorists to take a trip into the past.
Welcome to Christian Svensson's Dinosaur World.
Svensson has turned a defunct alligator farm near Plant City into a family attraction and amateur paleontologist's dream.
In addition to its 150 dinosaur models, Dinosaur World features a fossil dig, a playground and boneyard for children, covered picnic areas and an outdoor classroom.
Tucked in among 80 kinds of lush plants and a natural pond, the lifelike creatures invite visitors to experience sensations of an ancient past.
"Walk through the park in the early morning before the fog lifts, and it's like they are almost alive," said Michael Segers, education coordinator at Dinosaur World.
The dinosaur models, up to 80 feet in length, are made of fiberglass, steel and concrete. The now-extinct creatures evolved into many sizes and shapes, including the long-necked plant-eating saltasaurus. The stegosaurus, a plant-eater the size of an elephant with a tiny head and a brain the size of a golf ball, is among the most bizarre-looking of the Jurassic-age dinosaurs.
Tyrannosaurus rex was the world's largest meat-eater and is one of the more imposing models. It is 50 feet long from head to tail and had long, strong hind legs and huge feet. Tiny two-clawed forearms protrude from its 7-ton body.
_ MICHELLE JONES
Deborah Chan of Seminole pushes Patrick, her 3-year-old son, through Dinosaur World in Plant City. The park has 80 types of plants and a pond to complement the lifelike models.