When Marx Dinosaur Play-sets Ruled the World!

If you’re a middle-aged dinosaur fan, chances are you grew up with a steady stream of plastic, Marx dinosaurs. These solid colored, non posable figures were a staple birthday/holiday gift for most kids in the ‘60s and ‘70s; often lining the bottom of our toy boxes or disappearing behind the cushions of the family couch. If you were really lucky, your dinosaurs were accompanied by a play-set which ranged from a few rocks and trees to a full mountain set-up. I remember when I was eight years old getting their Giant Marx Prehistoric Playset for Christmas and later using it as “Tatooine” with my Kenner STAR WARS toys. Yes, Christmas 1978 was a legendary haul at the Fuentes house, let me tell you!

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Welcome to Rapid City’s Dinosaur Park…

I have mixed feelings regarding Rapid City, South Dakota. On the one hand, it’s the perfect central location for seeing the Black Hills, Badlands National Park, and Mount Rushmore. Unfortunately, it’s also something of a tourist trap. There’s lots to do but, if you’re a family on a budget, you’ll really want to research everything before planning your activities. That being said, Dinosaur Park in Rapid City is definitely worth checking out and, best of all, totally FREE to the public!

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The Prehistoric Ghosts of Badlands National Park!

Visiting Badlands National Park is like stepping off onto another planet, especially since its topography so different than the surrounding Dakota plains. Like all National Parks, it’s striking to behold and an amazing locale for recreational hikes and photography. It’s also the location of the largest accumulation of mammal fossils from the Eocene and Oligocene Epochs. Back then, North America was a lot like how we view Africa today; with prehistoric versions of rhinoceros, elephant, camels, lions, and sloths to name but a few. The Badlands offers paleontologists a snapshot of what their world was like.

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CollectA goes Full Frontal with Megacerops!

I just returned from visiting the Dakotas while making a few Prehistoric Pit Stops along the way. Ironically, a couple of those excursions tied in with a figure I’d just received before I left – CollectA’s Megacerops. This model is part of their Prehistoric Life Collection and, just like their Deinotherium model I reviewed in my last post, breaks the mold in terms of scientific accuracy! Whereas the previous figure depicted a relative of the modern day elephant, this two-toed ungulate was a member of the Titanothere family which shares ancestry with today’s horses, tapirs, and rhinos. It definitely looks like a rhinoceros cousin with its double horns though, unlike rhinos, these are part of the animal’s skull and “true” horns. Their unique appearance illustrates once again how diverse and amazing our planet’s prehistoric mammals truly were.

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CollectA Deinotherium – Marvelous Model for a “Terrible Beast!”

African Elephants have always been my favorite living animal and are part of a proud, diverse family that can be traced over much of the planet. These Proboscideans included some of the Earth’s largest land mammals with the subject of today’s review one of its most impressive. Deinotherium dominated Africa as well as Eurasia approximately 10 million to 10,000 years ago, possibly crossing paths with early humans. Its name means “terrible beast” and was larger than modern elephants though with a shorter trunk. Its most distinguishing characteristic, however, were its tusks that curved downward from its lower jaw. In most other members of the elephant family, tusks jut from the upper jaw and curve in the opposite direction. The reason Deinotherium’s evolved this way is still up for debate with some suggesting they were designed for digging out roots and tubers much like a backhoe. Another notable featured that differed from its more dome-headed cousins was a nearly flat skull.

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Take a “Dinosaur Expedition” at the Lake Compounce Amusement Park!

Dave’s Dinos is happy to share photos and narrative from Ashley Johnson regarding her visit to Bristol, Connecticut’s Lake Compounce Amusement Park

I have been living in New England for a couple of years now, and every year I make the one and a half hour trek from my home in Rhode Island down to Lake Compounce in Bristol Connecticut.The family amusement park boasts some amazing attractions including an gorgeous sky ride up the side of a mountain, and the voted number one best wooden roller-coaster in the world for four years running Balderdash!

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