Five life-sized dinosaurs, and one off-spring, have arrived at the Good Zoo at Oglebay, and will greet zoo visitors throughout the summer. “The dinosaurs are fitted with an electric brain so they move and roar, and can be discovered in the woods near the Australian Exhibit,” said Penny Miller, Director of the Good Zoo.
Miller said the entire zoo staff has been working with a paleontologist. “The staff is well-versed on the dinosaurs that are currently on exhibit and are prepared to pass on this information to all visitors,” said Miller. Paleontologists continue to find new dig sites and new dinosaur species, and advanced tools and new discoveries have led to new conclusions about dinosaurs. “Museums have had to change exhibits numerous times as paleontology forms a more accurate picture of dinosaurs,” said Miller.
The dinosaurs at the Good Zoo this summer include a large Styracosaurus and her baby, a Dilophosaurus, a Juvenile T –Rex, a Deltadromeus and Parasaurolophus. The Parasaurolophus is non-robotic so visitors can sit on it and take their photo or video, but all other dinosaurs are robotic and move and roar.
The Styracosaurus, whose name means “Spiked Lizard” was found in North America and Asia during the late cretaceous period. This species had six large spikes coming from the large frill on the back of the head, two horns on the upper mouth, and one horn on the nose. The spikes were arranged differently for each individual. Styracosaurus had a beak to eat plants and fossil beds show tracks where multiple individuals walked together and laid eggs together. Functioning in groups allowed them to defend themselves from predators and to be less vulnerable. Miller said the Styracosaurus functioned ecologically like today’s rhino.
The Dilophosaurus, whose name means “Two-ridged Lizard” was 20 feet long and about 6 feet tall. It was a medium sized, fish-eating dinosaur that scavenged.
Tyrannosaurus Rex, or T-Rex, means “Tyrant Lizard King” and is one of today’s most recognizable dinosaur species. Most of the specimens of T-Rex were found in fossil beds in Montana and South Dakota. One of the largest land carnivores, a full-grown T-Rex was 40 feet long and 13 feet high. “Many thought that the T-Rex was an active hunter but evidence supports the hypothesis that they were mostly scavengers,” said Miller. Because T-Rex was one of the most recent dinosaurs to go extinct, its bones were well-preserved and a great deal is known about it.
The Parasaurolophus, whose name means “Near Crested Lizard” was a herbivore that walked on four legs to forage for food and ran on two legs. Parasaurolophus had beak-like mouths for breaking down grasses and ate in groups to avoid predation, functioning ecologically the same as a herd of gazelles today. Specimens were found in North America, from Mexico to Canada.
“The Deltadromeus, whose name means ‘River Runner’ has claimed the top of the wetlands waterfall as his prehistoric perch for the summer,” said Miller. Deltadromeus was also a carnivore and walked on two legs, and was about 30 feet long. Very few have been found and only partial skeletons can be studied, so not much is known about this species. For a close up view of the Deltadromeus Miller suggested a train ride but the creature can be seen and heard from the wetlands.
The zoo is currently open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission to the Good Zoo is $9.00 for adults; $5.75 for children ages 3-12; and Good Zoo members and ages 2 and under are admitted free. Lorikeet Landing and the train ride are open Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm, weather permitting. The train ride is $2.25 per person and a cup of nectar to feed to the lorikeets is $1.00. Visit the Good Zoo website to view a video on the dinosaurs and for more zoo details including dinosaur-themed summer camps. The dinosaurs go extinct on Labor Day.
The dinosaurs are from Billings Productions, North America’s leading provider of life-size animatronic dinosaurs for zoos, museums and theme parks. According to their website the company aims to encourage discovery and create awareness of prehistoric life in both young and old by making learning fun and entertaining.