Richfield Springs, New York: Petrified Creatures MuseumOddly-proportioned, brightly painted dinosaurs speak to you from push-button mailboxes. Opened in 1934. One-of-a-kind.
Visitor Tips and News About Petrified Creatures Museum
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]
Petrified Creatures Museum
This is probably the grandest title for a backyard museum I've ever heard of. Oh, and it's for sale if you want it.
After paying the admission fee, I was instructed to push the button at each dinosaur station (the proprietor noted that the dinosaur recordings were really for the kids). Each dinosaur spoke a bit about itself in a caricature/cartoon voice, including "ferocious roars" for the T-Rex.
This T-Rex is undergoing repair. His large spike nail teeth look far more menacing than his tree branch arms... and the fact that he has all the powerful appearance of a large black trash can.[Chris Schierer, 09/14/2007]
The place is still there, but is advertised incorrectly. If you're going there to dig -- or in this case chisel -- out fossils, then it's a good bet. It made my 10 year old very happy. The little store has some cool fossils and rocks as well. The other dino exhibits are really in the backyard of a house and are a joke except for the very young. You can tell that original person who set this up had a real interest in the area and fossils, but no budget to pull it off. If you go, do it to carve out some fossils.[Vic, 07/29/2007]