It is impossible to watch Jurassic Park without wishing that dinosaur safari parks existed in the real world. Unfortunately, with the science still a long way off, we have to try and make do with the next best thing: dinosaur models! There are plenty of places that have managed to pull this off quite well, but there are even more than haven’t. From the unscientific to the unspectacular, to the down right weird, here are some of the worse real life dinosaur exhibits.
Crystal Palace Dinosaur Court, UK
It seems a tad unfair to pick on dinosaur sculptures made in the Victorian Age, but this Crystal Palace exhibit deserves its inclusion here due the dark and embittered history of its inception. These models were originally meant to be designed by Hilary Mantell, the discoverer of the Iguanodon, but the work was eventually passed over to his competitor Richard Owen in 1851, when Mantell became too ill to work. Owen, though undoubtedly a great scientist, was a vindictive character and had famously tried to destroy Mantell’s career on a number of occasions. Discarding the heavily researched notes of his rival, Owen set about designing the creatures himself, basing his ideas on deeply held religious beliefs that god had only perfected a set number of animal types. This basically meant forcing the contradictory evidence found in incomplete fossils sets onto the shapes of modern animals, making his designs inaccurate even to his contemporaries. As ridiculous as these models now seem, them do make for a fascinating historical trip and the site is now grade I listed.
Valle de la Prehistoria, Cuba
In a desperate attempt to boost tourism to Cuba during the 1980′s, government officials decided to build a sprawling Jurassic era recreation across an 11 hectare national park, because, you know, natural beauty just isn’t interesting enough. Unfortunately, like much of the rest of the 1980s, it just hasn’t aged very well. In fact, it has aged even worse than the anatomically incorrect Owen models which were made 128 years prior! Rather than real dinosaurs, these concrete sculptures (hand crafted by an army of convicts) now resemble scaled up versions of toy dinosaurs from poundland. The park is still very popular with children though. Probably.
Jurassic Museum of Asturias, Spain
Forgoing the classical style of displaying dinosaur skeletons in an awkward upright posture, the Jurassic Museum of Asturias has instead chosen to display their pair of T-rex’s in the middle of, err, copulation. There is something quite unnatural about the amount of pleasure on Mrs. Rex’s face, which gives the whole scene a feeling of pornographic fakeness. Instead of the awe inspiring drama I imaging the curators were trying to convey, the exhibit is now the source of much sniggering amongst visiting school parties. No blushing please.
The Creation Museum, USA
Flying in the face of the last 200 years of scientific discovery, we are transported back 50,00 years to the beginning of life in the garden of Eden. A simple time, filled with simple pleasures, where man and woman can live harmoniously along side such dinosaurs as the velociraptor and stegosaurus. Obviously before God got bored with them and had them wiped them out. It’s hard to see how anyone can take this place seriously, but apparently they do. In their thousands. There are also plenty of dinosaurs to be found queuing up for Noah’s Ark, as it was equipped with a specialized T-rex pen I would assume, but unfortunately the creatures are shown to die out just after the great flood. Booo, hiss.