Dinosaur Valley State Park
Glen Rose, Texas
Just past the Creation Evidence Museum, which wants to prove that dinosaurs and humans lived together as part of God's plan, humans and dinosaur statues actually do live together -- at the entrance to Dinosaur Valley State Park. The park itself features roughly 100 dinosaur tracks left in the bed of the Paulxy River, but what we like most are the two dinosaur statues that stand next to the entrance parking lot.
One is a toothy Tyrannosaurus, the other a sleepy-looking brontosaurus. The 70-ft. long brontosaurus is angled to provide maximum shade from the blistering Texas sun, and most visitors congregate within its cool shadow, ignoring the arguably more interesting beast.
Both statues are from Sinclair Dinoland, an oil company exhibit at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair (The connection was that some dinosaurs got fossilized, some got turned into oil). When the Smithsonian refused to take the Dinoland dinosaurs after the Fair, they were scattered: Ankylosaurus went to the Cleveland Zoo, Corythosaurus to Independence, KS. Stegosaurus ended up at Dinosaur National Monument in Vernal, UT, and Struthiomimus at the Milwaukee Museum. The Triceratops landed in Louisville, KY; the Ornitholestes just disappeared. T. Rex and Brontosaurus landed in Glen Rose in 1970.
Other '64-'65 World's Fair attractions, like the World's Largest Replica Cheese and the World's Largest Tire, also found their way to permanent positions along the road, and managed to hold their own against later additions to the vacationscape (Although the Cheese finally vanished in 2005).
However, when it was learned that there really wasn't such a thing as a Brontosaurus after all -- the original skeleton on which it was based turned out to have been a Camarasaurus skull stuck on an Apatosaurus body -- Texas Parks and Wildlife decided in 1987 to remake the dinosaur to conform to modern thought.
But as the posted explanation at the park reads: "When the correct head was finally installed it did not look right even though it was the right size...The new head looked like a pin head!"
Of course it didn't look right -- everyone had been looking at the wrong brontosaurus imagery for decades. So Texas Parks and Wildlife did what any politically-influenced natural science organization would do -- they changed it back!
What we especially like is the explanation for the change:
"By the 1990s the park recognized that the Sinclair models had become pieces of history in their own right and in 1995 decided to restore the models to the way they looked at the 1964 World's Fair. The old Camarasaurus head demonstrates that our understanding of these animals continues to develop."
Although we would bet that a tourist's understanding will develop slower as a result, we agree that the world view of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair should be preserved, and can't believe the Smithsonian passed on the dinos in the first place.