Clyde Wynia.
Clyde Wynia and "My Sweetheart," his vision of "a nice Norwegian girl."

Jurustic Park

Field review by the editors.

Marshfield, Wisconsin

If you listen to Clyde Wynia, you'll learn that the creatures inside Jurustic Park are not artworks made in Clyde's welding shop, but the fossils of extinct Iron Age animals, simply dug out of a nearby marsh and reassembled.

Dragon.
The Articulated Dragon gets all jiggly when you pull its cables.

Anyway, that's what he'd like you to believe.

Clyde takes great delight in surprising visitors to Jurustic Park as an unexpected tour guide, his stern demeanor and deadpan delivery disguising a non-stop monologue of really, really bad puns. The America On Line Fish has scales made from old AOL compact disks. The Kevorkian Gunslinger is a frog holding a U-shaped rifle. The Naval Dragon has a notably protruding belly button.

"If I smile, nobody takes me seriously," said Clyde, who is in fact a retired attorney who began transforming his property into Jurustic Park in 1993 (The same year that Jurassic Park arrived in theaters). He built his first creature for fun, "and a neighbor came by and said, 'Where did you ever get something like that?'," Clyde recalled. "And the first thing that came to my mind was, 'Well, I dug it out of the marsh.' And I couldn't stop with one. So I've been digging them out and welding them together ever since."

Manic mouse.
Iron Age alert: steer clear of the rusty teeth.

Jurustic Park is now filled with hundreds of Clyde's creations, ranging from pint-sized bugs to behemoths over 20 feet tall.

There are crazy-looking owls, pigs, cats, dogs, as well as a range of beasts with dagger-like teeth, and an entire taxonomy of skeletons, both human and dinosaur. Many are designed to wiggle and clang. All have built-in jokes. Down Payment on a Horse is a de-fleshed horse's head made from socket wrenches. Town Board Meeting features frogs attacking and strangling each other. Marsh Cow has a Stegosaurus-like spine made of shovel blades.

"When it gets hot she'll flip herself on her back and dig herself into the muck," said Clyde.

Bottle Rocket is literally that: a bottle that explosively fires itself skyward. Clyde claimed that it was powered by hot air from his wife.

Mrs. Clyde, a.k.a. Nancy Wynia, is an artist in her own right. Her workshop, The Hobbit House, is next to Clyde's. Her specialty is fibers and glass. She's an expert with a lathe and blowtorch, and her output probably exceeds that of her husband. They've been married since 1957. "He went to law school," Nancy said with a smile, "and I got a PHT: Putting Husband Through." Clyde responded with a spontaneous hug, "You have no idea how much I appreciate this woman."

Clyde and Nancy.
Clyde and Nancy: may their love never oxidize.

Despite their affection for each other, Nancy is often a punchline in Clyde's Jurustic Park patter -- but, then, so is everyone (Clyde always asks for a visitor's hometown so that he can work in geographic insults). This approach, plus the sometimes saucy physical embellishments Clyde adds to his creatures, gets him into occasional trouble with scandalized visitors -- and Clyde loves it.

"'You completely destroyed the innocence and purity of my grandchildren,'" Clyde quoted from one letter, posted prominently and proudly on the wall of Nancy's studio. It labeled him "that crank guy" and cited as evidence of his corruption, "private parts made of rusty metal" (Clyde notes that kids routinely see far worse things than his goofball attempts at cartoon anatomy).

Another letter from 2014 listed several supposed offenses-against-decency and concluded, "and you know you're nearing the end of your life, and eternity's a long time." Clyde chuckled at his response. "What do you mean I'm nearing the end of my life? I'm only 80!"

Jurustic Park

Address:
M222 Sugar Bush Lane, Marshfield, WI
Directions:
From Hwy 97 heading north, on the north edge of Marshfield, turn left at the Walmart stoplight onto Hwy E. Drive north 3.5 miles. Turn left onto Sugar Bush Lane. Drive a half-mile. You'll see Jurustic Park on the right; parking is on the left.
Hours:
Summer M-Sa 10-4, Su 11-4. Fewer hours and days off-season. (Call to verify)
Phone:
715-387-1653
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

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November 12, 2019

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