Kansas to open $6.5 million dinosaur theme park

DERBY, Kan. - A $6.5 million dinosaur theme park is expected to open next year in southern Kansas.

The 14-acre theme park is scheduled to open in the Wichita suburb of Derby with more than 30 life-size animatronic dinosaurs, The Wichita Eagle reported . Featured dinosaurs will include a Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops and Stegosaurus.

The park will be set up like a scientific expedition, said the park's executive director Guy Gsell. Visitors will be able to dig for fossils, walk past the life size dinosaur models and participate in events, he said.

Kansas was a fitting location for the park because the state has a long history with modern paleontology, Gsell said.

"Kansas is like the birthplace of modern paleontology," Gsell said. "You had your Bone Wars here, your most famous discoverers were here. Paleontology as a science should resonate with Kansas."

Private financing and money from Sales Tax Revenue bonds are funding the project. The bonds are meant to incentivize businesses to create destinations to attract out-of-state visitors.

"Wichita has so many science attractions — Exploration Place, the Sedgwick County Zoo, the Kansas Aviation Museum, Tanganyika Wildlife Park," Gsell said. "We think this is a great place for family science tourism, which is exactly what I do. We think this creates synergy for a number of top notch science attractions."

The park is expected to open on Memorial Day. Gsell said ticket prices will likely be about $15 per person, though there will be specials, group rates and season tickets.

Derby officials plan to use additional bond money to develop a hospital, hotel, restaurants and retail shops.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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