From The World Of Parks & Recreation
By Doug Comer
This week Harrison County Parks and Recreation opened its “Walking with Dinosaurs” exhibit to the public with the anticipation of topping last year’s mark of 17,000 participants. With this year’s theme being “Seas and Skies” and over 200 real and replicated fossils on display, we should have no problem eclipsing last year’s numbers.
“We are extremely excited about the exhibit this year. In fact, we have added a couple extra weeks as compared to last year and we hope that everyone comes and takes advantage of our museum quality exhibit we have here at the Recreation Complex,” said Director Mike Book.
The exhibit will be very active during the week as schools will reserve the mornings for classroom field-day enrichments. Kids will travel to the complex and take part in a program that meets all state educational standards no matter the age of the students. The kids will go through a sequence of classroom activities from a dinosaur dig to a craft.
“Our field-day school enrichments are what drives the program’s success,” said Book. “Adding public days to the program gives all students in the area an opportunity to come and participate in the program. You see, teachers schedule these field days for their students in the fall of last year, but not all schools takes advantage of what we offer. So, by adding nights and weekends, all kids, along with their families, can come to the exhibit.”
The exhibit itself is just a smaller version of what you would see in museums across the world. For those who get a chance to fly in Pittsburgh, you can see a full scale T-rex dinosaur fossil as you work your way to your departure gate. We have those types of fossils at our facility. But, the best part about the program is the free admission to the public.
With ticket prices in upwards of $30 dollars a person at some of the best museums in the United States, having a free exhibit in the area can save families a lot of money in travel and admission costs. The only difference between what is offered here as compared to museums is the size of the exhibit as Book explains.
“We have the same fossils that you will find at any museum in the world. We have a full scale Tarbosaurus by the main window as well as our swimming Mosasaur, who hovers atop the exhibit and stretches to nearly 60-feet. It’s quite breathtaking when you enter our main room and see all the pieces that we have. This year we have a Megalodon jaw that is roughly six-foot wide by five-foot high and people will be able to get a ton of photo opportunities at our exhibit. And the free admission stamp is possible through the help of the County Commission and the Vital Service Levy.”
The hours of operation for the exhibit are Wednesday through Sunday. On weeknights the exhibit hours are 4-8 pm while the weekends are scheduled from noon till 6 pm. For more information, please contact the Parks and Recreation office.
On a final note, we lost one of our own last week as Frank “Chunki” Angotti passed away due to complications stemming from a heart attack. He was a strong supporter of all the park’s programs and his roles as a Commissioner and Advisory Board Member were vital to the success of Harrison County Parks and Recreation. We will miss seeing him at our functions but we know he’ll be looking down on us in spirit.