Monday, January 30th, Harrison County Parks and Recreation opened its doors to many local officials, members of local boards and government representatives to unveil the current enrichment Dinosaurs in the Park, A Walk through Time.
The event was our appreciation to those that supports the programs we offer and to showcase how the programs not only affect the kids with scheduled field days, but the community as a whole.
With representation from the Board of Education, both city and county officials and some close friends, we were able to bring everyone together to tell our story and thank them for the support they have given us. While many reactions were positive and the compliments followed, the best happening of the evening was a little two-year old kid that walked in, saw a big Triceratop staring him in the face and he simply said “WOW!”
“That is EXACTLY the reaction that we look for when creating a wonderful exhibit like this,” marked Director Mike Book. “Our goal is to find ways to continue the success of the program and not allow things to get stagnant. While it is getting harder and harder to do, we did pull a few tricks from our sleeves to make our recent enrichment better than before.”
The theme, A Walk through Time, is the Park’s version of a “best of” compilation. With the popularity of some fossils from before and a couple of great photo opportunities, there will be plenty of photographs for the families that pass through to share.
“We do have some of the same items from last year, like our Great White shark, however we have staged an area where the shark is hanging from a rope and pier is in the background. One can take photos beside the Great White and claim that they were the one to tame the beast of the seas,” Book said.
For those that are not familiar with what we offer at the HCPR, let me explain some of the programs we offer. You see, we simply do not kick a ball out in a field and tell the kids to go play. No, we have taken the program to a level that is probably unusual to the norm standards of a rec department.
Our dinosaur exhibit is totally funded by the Vital Service Levy and approved through the County Commission. Upon my first month on the job, I was unsure how parks and rec and enrichments would share any comparisons. However, to see field days of this nature as well as the types of rec leagues we offer in basketball and t-ball, it seemed like a perfect partnership and it has exceeded my expectations.
We have scheduled over 2,000 students coming from Harrison County for just this enrichment alone. And with our evenings with the public nights, we look to topple 12,000 people. The visitation for the public days are very interesting as we see a ton of kids who have already been here through school trips and now bring family members to show them what they learned. Most staff recognizes the kids instantly, and if not, the kids make sure to come up and say hello.
“There are a lot of kids that come more than once to the event,” said recreation specialist Jack Cann. “Whether they play in our basketball league or have been here before, they are quick to come up and say hello before they look around. It is pretty cool as people who may know us from different venues, definitely knows us for the dinosaurs.”
With this week marking the opening to the exhibit to the public, there should be plenty of opportunities to learn about the exhibit and find opportunities to get a picture taken with the many items on display. But, most important, it will be a great chance to bring your family and make them go “Wow!”