Cover photo: Lloyd Schmaltz Geology and Mineral Museum
Travel Back in Prehistoric Time with Dinosaur Park
Do you have a kid that digs dinos?
Western Michigan University’s Dinosaur Park has become one of our favorite dinosaur exhibits in Michigan, starting with six prehistoric residents in 2021.
These scale-model replicas are free to visit, and offer an immersive experience for future paleontologists, geologists and other curious visitors.
The group of dinosaurs grew by 15 feet in June of 2022 with the addition of a massive Brachiosaurus.
But the dinos aren’t done with us yet. Thanks to a generous, local donation, Dinosaur Park’s pack will jump to 10 when it adds three more dinosaurs in the summer of 2023.
Meet the New Dinosaurs
Due to the generosity of the Kalamazoo Geological and Mineral Society (KGMS), three new statues will be installed in Dinosaur Park.
Moving in this summer is one Allosaurus and two Dilophosaurus statues. The Allosaurus (pictured) has already arrived on campus; the two Dilophosauruses will follow.
You may recall the Dilophosaurus from some pretty dramatic moments in the original Jurassic Park movie.
While they did live in the Jurassic period, much of their depiction was untrue: Dilophosauruses did not spit poison, did not have frilled necks and they were much larger than shown in the film. However, it did make for some pretty memorable scenes!
What is the KGMS?
The Kalamazoo Geological and Mineral Society (KGMS) is 501(c)(3) educational organization whose main purpose is to further interest in gems, minerals, geology, paleontology, and lapidary arts.
KGMS’s philanthropy does not end with these dinosaurs. This group regularly donates funds to support WMU’s students through scholarships and research grants.
This club has been in Kalamazoo for over 65 years; they also host the annual Kalamazoo Rock and Mineral Show at the Expo Center (May 5-7, 2023) and have a FREE kids club!
KGMS meets the first Tuesday of the month at The Portage Senior Center at 7:00PM, with social time at 6:30 PM. They are always open to new members.
Why Did KGMS Donate 3 Dinosaurs?
We had the pleasure of speaking with David Haas, KGMS President, about the dinosaurs:
“Western Michigan has been such an incredible partner with KGMS for decades. This is one way we could give back to the university.”
Haas also indicated the desire to educate younger generations:
“We would love to inspire children to pursue the natural sciences as a career. Dinosaur Park is one way to get kids excited about geology and related fields.”
When Can We See the New Dinos?
In short, sometime this summer.
Western Michigan University Facilities Management installs all of the statues and will add the trio when resources and warmer weather permit.
In 2022, the Brachiosaurus was added in June.
Where to Park
Most parking lots are by permit only on Western’s campus, so be sure to follow all posted signs.
The closest parking lot is behind Sangren Hall or near the Bernhard Center. Please park at the meters.
For additional information, visit the Parking Services website.
How Many Different Dinosaurs Can We See?
Currently, there are six different types of dinosaurs:
1 – Brachiosaurus
2 – Spinosaurus
3 – Triceratops
4 – Stegosaurus
5 – Utahraptor
6 – Parasaurolophus
There are two Utahraptors, bringing the total statue count to seven.
By the end of summer 2023, there will be 10 statues and eight types on campus.
How Big are the Dinosaurs?
Bigger than a breadbox- or a fourth-grader.
These scale-model sculptures are large enough to enjoy visiting, but not so large that kids find them scary.
Safety Note: The dinosaurs are definitely a “look but don’t touch” exhibit. There are signs posted to remind visitors not to touch or climb on the statues.
Can We Learn More About the Dinosaurs?
Each dinosaur includes a sign with facts about the animal including its speed, diet, and prehistoric time period.
Dinosaur Park is Still Evolving
Although dinosaurs are extinct, this park is still undergoing its own evolution.
While the pandemic slowed its initial momentum, Western Michigan’s Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences is continuing to expand Dinosaur Park.
This means more dinosaurs, more plant life, more lighting, and more geological installations.
Make a Museum Stop
Since you’re next door to Rood Hall, stop by The Schmaltz Geology and Mineral Museum, located on the first floor of the building.
Museum Collections include the following:
• The Kelley Collection of fossil and modern shark teeth
• The James Duncan mineral and agate collection
• A Michigan copper boulder
• An ultraviolet fluorescent display
• Mastodon fossils from Van Buren County, MI
• World-class fossil and mineral specimens
• An interactive augmented reality sandbox
Museum Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Classes are held throughout the day at Rood Hall, so visitors are asked to be mindful of that during their visit.
Have you Visited Dinosaur Park?
Leave us a comment with your experience and let us know how it went!