The roars on the trails and inside the discovery display will thrill even the littlest visitors at Lorain County Metro Parks “Dinosaurs!” The exhibit at the Carlisle Reservation in LaGrange runs through May 7.
The park system has been planning this event since November to celebrate its 60th anniversary. Also, dinosaur exhibits and events have been featured throughout years at many of the Metro Parks’ parks and reservation centers.
“We wanted to do something big,” says Vanessa Klesta, Lorain County Metro Parks spokeswoman. “Dinosaurs never get old. We have had smaller displays at (the other parks).”
The event, which is open daily from noon to 6 p.m., provides interactive dinosaur activities both indoors and along the outdoor trails.
Visitors can follow the footprints into the indoor dinosaur discovery display. Everyone can marvel at the interpretive dioramas of dinosaur bones and skeletons.
Also, kids can find items through the scavenger hunt and get hands-on experience through a Dinosaur “Operation” game board. Instead of the normal buzzer, adults and children alike will laugh at the new sound custom to the dinosaur exhibit.
For the little ones, there is a playroom to explore and crawl. Other activities include a program in which groups learn about putting dinosaur bones, such as those of a Stegosaurus and Triceratops, together from large wooden pieces
Outside, on the Short Loop Trail, everyone can explore the different periods during which the dinosaurs lived.
Visitors will be surprised at the moving and roaring dinosaurs throughout the outdoor exhibit.
Klesta says the park system received the displays from Dinomotion in Schaumburg, Ill., which provides life-like animatronic dinosaurs.
While the company supplied the dinosaurs, the park’s naturalists, in what Klesta says was a large group effort, created the signs along the trail for park guests to learn about the dinosaurs and other fun tidbits.
Jenna and her 1-year-old, Mackenzie, of Elyria, explored the exhibit. Jenna says this was the first time her daughter has seen dinosaurs.
“I think this is great,” she says. “I think it’s fun for the kids to see (and learn about) new things.”
Visitors also can give back to the community at the event by bringing non-perishable items for Second Harvest Food Bank — and the park district provides a fun way to drop off the donation.
A large orange dinosaur tent is set up next to the reservation center, where guests can “Feed the Dinosaur” — and they might be surprised by what they hear upon entering.
While there is plenty of dinosaur-themed activities, on weekends, people also can enjoy the featured food trucks. The next truck visit will be on April 22-23, when Nelly Bell Pizza will arrive.
The event is held at 12882 Diagonal Road in LaGrange. Tickets can be purchased inside the Carlisle Visitor Center for $3 per person; ages 3 and younger are free. Visit metroparks.cc to learn more.