Richfield Springs, New York: Petrified Creatures Museum (Closed)Oddly-proportioned, brightly painted dinosaurs speak to you from push-button mailboxes. Opened in 1934. One-of-a-kind. Reported closed in 2016.
- East of Richfield Springs near Warren on Rt. 20, south side of road.
- June 2016: Reported closed
Visitor Tips and News About Petrified Creatures Museum
The museum is now closed and for sale. Totally bummed to find this out upon taking a detour to experience this potential awesomeness.[Ronee, 06/11/2016]
If you love the history behind an attraction more than you enjoy a clean and polished look, this is a stop for you. The exhibits and statues are in need of repair, but it is worth seeing.
The first part of the exhibit is full of information on ancient organisms. You can tell someone with a real interest in the field wanted to bring the information to the public. The dinosaur statues are in pretty bad shape, but I loved it. The mailbox messages are great. They really gave it a fun feel. The owner sat and talked with us about the history of the place. See it before it may be gone forever.[Jennifer Avery, 07/27/2015]
We paid our $9 apiece and walked past the dinosaurs and the little educational shelters in the rain. Yes, the dinosaurs are run down, but this place is something unique that is hard to find nowadays. Dinosaurs, built by hand, weathering the snow and elements since the 1950s, and still around and strutting their stuff. This place is kitsch and classic Americana.
I've been to the polished dinosaur parks and those are impressive in their own way. This isn't Jurassic Park, nor does it pretend to be. It's goofy and amazing (and has non-existing Brontos). It's a heritage park that should be appreciated and enjoyed as such. There were some patches and repairs being done, but most of the dinosaurs looked as if they had new paint and attention. I'm sure it's an ongoing process with these statues.
Stop and enjoy. Let's keep these places alive.[cgrimes17, 06/20/2013]
Petrified Creatures Museum
This is a wonderful, run-down, roadside attraction. Old, chintzy, outsider-art beautiful.
Located on a long stretch of nothing on old Route 20, its origins date back to the early part of the 20th century. The woman who owns it now (who lives part of the year in Florida, so the museum is only open May to September) told us that fossils were first found in the area by a man working on the initial construction of Route 20. When the state didn't take an interest in the fossils, the workman bought a bit of property and began digging himself. He then sold the property to another man [John Mlecz] who began the museum.
This would be a very boring museum but for the inclusion of enormous, disproportionate, brightly painted dinosaur replicas. There are mailboxes stationed throughout the property, some of which give a short prerecorded prehistoric history lesson when a button inside is pressed (Just the mailbox thing in itself is weird!). Other mailboxes near the now-decrepit dinosaur replicas have recorded messages from the creatures themselves. The tyrannosaurus message is priceless. The "voice actor" really got into his part.
There are also several other more educational displays and a number of original paintings, possibly painted by or commissioned by the man who created the concrete dinosaur replicas. These, being mostly out of doors and in the elements, are badly in need of repair and restoration.
The woman who owns the Petrified Creatures Museum now (only the third owner) is looking to sell it. Hopefully, it will find a good home with someone who loves its awesome silliness.[Jenn in Boston, 08/29/2008]
I recently visited the museum. The gift shop is overpriced, and the cost of admission into the backyard is obscene. I can see how the dinosaur models in the backyard can entertain a child, but the only real thing worth seeing is the pit. The pit is small, but not bad. Unless you intend to go and chisel out some fossils of shells, skip it.[Disappointed in New York, 06/24/2008]