Terry Klaaren and his dinosaur.
Terry Klaaren and his dinosaur.

Recyclosaurus Dinosaur

Field review by the editors.

Tampa, Florida

We stopped in to check on our old pal, the Recyclosaurus -- a huge sculpture of a T-Rex made of recycled materials and half-filled with cans, bottles and trash. He's been standing in front of Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry since 1993.

Luckily, we ran into the original artist who created it -- Terry Klaaren -- there on a ladder, putting finishing touches on some recent renovations. Terry is a local sculptor and muralist who's lived in the Tampa Bay area since 1972.

The first thing we noticed about the Recyclosaurus was that his guts had been emptied of garbage. "We cleared him out, gave him a little colon flush," Terry said. After 18 years of Florida sun and humidity, the dinosaur was recycling itself in ways not originally anticipated. And the life-size dinosaur's eyes no longer lit up at night.

Back in 1992, Klaaren was asked to create the dinosaur using "cheap stuff" readily available. "They considered doing it all with car parts until they realized how expensive that would be," he told us. The sculpture had to be constructed quickly, so not much research was devoted to choosing which ingredients would stand the test of time.

The Recyclosaurus - 2011.
The Recyclosaurus - 2011.

The resulting creature, 25 ft. high and 40 ft. long from head to tail, boasted a framework made from recycled steel, skin made from orange plastic mesh construction fencing, and an assortment of discards filling its body cavity. Over time the mesh skin started to fall apart, and other deteriorating contents from the beast's belly threatened to drop out and litter the landscape. Short of renaming it the Blightosaurus, by 2010 it was time for some corrective surgery.

Terry was pleased the museum asked him to return and perform the work, which included rewiring the lights and tracking down mesh fencing to re-skin him.

Will MOSI refill the Recyclosaurus with new 21st century discards? Terry said for now "He's a Recyclosaurus in name only."

Recyclosaurus Dinosaur

Museum of Science and Industry

Address:
4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa, FL
Directions:
Museum of Science and Industry. Take I-75 to Fowler Ave. (Exit 265 West). Proceed westbound for 2 1/2 miles to the traffic light at MOSI, and turn left.
Phone:
813-987-6000
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Muffler Man - Fletcher Ave.Muffler Man - Fletcher Ave., Tampa, FL - 3 mi.
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In the region:
Al Capone's Nightclub, St. Petersburg, FL - 28 mi.

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