Free family fun at one of the Black Hills’ original tourist attractions, open to the public since 1936! Dinosaur Park is located on a ridge of sandstone that encircles the Black Hills. Along this ridge dinosaurs of the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous have been found. Not far from the park dinosaur footprints have been found.
As you stand on Dinosaur Park with spectacular 100-mile views and look to the east you can see the South Dakota Badlands. Most rocks of the Badlands are too young to have dinosaurs preserved, but fossil mammals are superbly represented. To the west and north of the Black Hills, dinosaurs have been found in great abundance in the basins of Wyoming and on the Northern Great Plains.
In this park are seven "life-size" concrete and steel reproductions of extinct creatures. Six are dinosaur and one is a mammal-like or synapsid reptile. As you stand in the parking lot below you can see the silhouette of Apatosaurus. The model is eighty feet long and weighs one hundred eighty-five thousand pounds. A live creature would have been considerably lighter, a mere thirty tons. This ponderous herbivore probably spent much of its life stripping leaves from trees and then moving on to find more food.
Next to the Apatosaurus and with an open mouth is the largest canivorous land animal that ever lived, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The head may have been as much as five feet in length.
Facing off with the Tyrannosaurus we find the great three-horned dinosaur, Triceratops. The South Dakota State Fossil may haved weighed as much as two Indian elephants.
Below the Apatosaurus is the very interesting model of Stegosaurus. The form refects the continuing struggle to understand fossils and bones.
As you continue down the steps and closest to the road stands a very upright duck-billed dinosaur. This very flat-headed form is best thought of as Anatotitan.
Down by the parking area, just outside the entrance to the Gift Shop, stands the only un-dinosaur of the park. Dimetrodon is a great carnivore that lived about fifty million years before dinosaurs appeared on the face of the Earth.
A short distance away is the only model that represents a creature from another continent. The relatively small dinosaur is Protoceratops.