Step right up, folks--gift shop inside. Don't worry, that big Dino head is secured by stout guy wires. . .
We decided not to help the U.S. economy this spring break by staying near home. Even that seemed like a pretty bleak decision. There isn't much to do in North Texas in March, besides spending a kazillion bucks going to Six Flags in Arlington (fuck them, anyway, with their elitist rich-asshole "flash pass" that lets those who shell out an additional $40-67 per admission cut into the ride lines ahead of the poor folk").
Even the "cheaper "options have gotten kinda outa hand--such as piling the family into the automobile and drive them through the Fossil Rim wildlife preserve near Glen Rose, about an hour and change southwest of Fort Worth--that used to be a good cheap day trip, but now prices are up over $20 per adult and another $12 per kid. . .no more flat-rate. But, hey, what better way to celebrate nature than to drive a pollution-spewing automobile through a bunch of rare and endangered animals, eh?
I'd been to Fossil Rim once before 10 years ago, and my only word of advise is a warning: If you shell out the $8 for a plastic cup of animal feed, DO NOT put the cup between your legs with the window down and an ostrich anywhere in the vicinity. Don't ask me why this is a bad idea.
Anyway, we thought, since we're not going to Six Flags we'd drop the bucks and visit Fossil Rim. But over lunch at a local bar-b-que joint in Glen Rose, though, one of the diners remarked there was a six-hour wait to get into the place. Screw that! Time for Fun Option #2: Dinosaur World.
What an impressive sight this must've been on the plains of central Texas 6,000 years ago. . .
Only a couple of miles away, Dinosaur World was a whole lot cheaper, and a whole lot tackier, both attributes that friends know I embrace. Right on the doorstep of Dinosaur Valley State Park is a 70-acre landscape of around 100 life-sized fiberglass dinosaur models presented among the Texas fauna in all sorts of threatening poses. There's three nearly-identical such places nationwide, presumably located in places where dinosaur fossils were found, though that's just a guess on my part. Dinosaur World is kitschy, of course, from the steel visitor's center gift shop building with the T. Rex head anchored above the entrance to the "fossil dig" for the kids presented hourly. And it really wasn't cheaper than Fossil Rim, on a bucks-per-hour basis, as the half-mile trail past the dinosaur statues took around 45 minutes or so. And once you've seen a basic large Brotosarus-type dinosaur, a scary T. Rex-type dinosaur, and an armor-plated Stegasarus-type dinosaur, you've seen it all.
The obligatory "screaming four-year-old" photos amid scary fiberglass dinosaurs. . .
All these dinosaurs disappeared millions of years ago, of course, so no one really knows EXACTLY what they looked like. Well, maybe not a million years ago, according to the folks at the Creation Evidence Museum, between the main highway and the Dinosaur Land. It appeared closed on the day or our trip to Glen Rose, but it looks like it'd be a fun visit: the place sets forth a belief that dinosaurs and humans coexisted! And it's got footprints and fossils to prove it! So, we missed out on sharing these wonderful discoveries with our kids, but we fear not, as the museum has a wonderful kids page that lays it all out for them on-line. Hey, no wonder the moon wasn't covered in more than a couple of inches of dust when the Astronauts landed: it was only 6,000 years old! Personally, I really missed out on hearing about the Crystalline Canopy Theory.
Splashing in the mighty Paluxy River. . .
After seeing us some fake dinosaurs (and wondering if it was just a coincidence most of them, like our children, had "thicks skulls with incredibly small brains"), we had the most fun of the day at Big Rocks Park, right along the Paluxy River near old downtown Glen Rose. A bunch of limestone boulders are strewn along the sandy river bank, making it a tempting place or kids to either splash around in the barely-running river or climb up on the big rocks. They had a blast, and got soaked in the process. But it was a gorgeous 82-degree early spring day, and surely worth the wet clothes. The whole idea behind Spring Break in the first place.
. . and playing among the "big rocks". . .