Anyone with an AARP card has probably heard the song “Kansas City” by Fats Domino. It has a catchy soul beat and I cannot think of anyone better to belt the tune than Fats himself. So, why am I starting this week’s article about a 1950s song that has been covered by over 300 artists? Well, we just came back.
No, we weren’t looking for a woman like it says in the lyrics. We went there to bring back some dinosaurs.
Really! In Kansas City we were able to meet with curators of a dinosaur exhibit, and with the help of Ray and Mary Ellen Garton of Prehistoric Planet, we received dinosaur exhibit pieces valued at over $80,000 for just the cost of shipping them back to the Mountain State.
“These pieces are going to make an immediate impact on our Enrichments,” said Jeff Wetzel, Recreation Coordinator with the HCPR. “We have some displays that tell some information about the dinosaurs and on the other side, there is a puzzle where the kids can assemble them into free standing skeletons.”
There are eight pieces total and each display is 5-feet tall and close to 8-feet in length. The display is moveable with the help of wheels supporting the units.
Also making the trip is a swimmer fossil called a Mosasaur. It covers about 68-feet of space and it will hang from the ceiling in the main viewing area on the first floor. Director Mike Book was impressed with the detail during a recent inspection of all the pieces.
“The theme for this year will be swimmers and flyers and the piece we received from Kansas City will equal or probably exceed the popularity of the T-Rex. It will cover the length of our main room and the way it will hang from the ceiling will make it eye catching.”
The County Commission felt that this purchase would be a huge benefit to an already successful enrichment program. County Commission President Ron Watson puts great emphasis on education in Harrison County, and for a program that maximizes improvement on the school level, he is behind it.
“The program has been evolving and has hit a new stride with the purchase of the new pieces. It not only peaks the interest of the kids that visit during the field days but it should have a positive impact on the families that visit the facility during our evening and weekend hours of operation. Mike Book has transformed the Parks and Rec department into a full-service program on all levels.”
While the dinosaur exhibit does not take off until the beginning of the New Year, preparation has already been put into play to ensure that the 3rd leg of the enrichment season will better the previous year’s program.
“The exhibit last year had upwards of 20,000 people in the County stop by to visit the exhibit,” said Book. “If we plan to eclipse that number we need to find ways to promote the event by letting the public know about the change in the exhibit’s theme. And, in doing so, we will meet those expectations.”
Maybe, we will incorporate the song “East Bound and Down” into next week’s article.