Dinosaur Kingdom is the name of a new and silly amusement park in Virginia.
Dinosaur Kingdom is a twist on the biblical Creationist view that people and dinosaurs lived together. Here, people live with dinosaurs — but only until the dinosaurs eat them.
As the tour begins, visitors are asked to imagine themselves in 1863. A family of Virginia paleontologists has accidentally dug a mine shaft into a hidden valley of living dinosaurs. Unfortunately, the Union Army has tagged along, hoping to kidnap the big lizards and use them as “weapons of mass destruction” against the South.
What you see along the path of Dinosaur Kingdom is a series of tableaus depicting the aftermath of this ill-advised military strategy. As you enter, a lunging, bellowing T-Rex head lets you know that the dinosaurs are mad — and they only get madder. A big snake has eaten one Yankee, and is about to eat another. An Allasaurus grabs a bluecoat off of his rearing horse while a second soldier futilely tries to lasso the big lizard. Another Yankee crawls up a tree with a stolen egg while the mom dinosaur batters it down. Mark has augmented some of these displays with motors: toothy jaws flap, tails and tongues wag.
Mark explains that he originally wanted the dinosaurs to attack Pancho Villa and his troops at the turn of the 20th century, but then decided against it. “I was really looking for some villains,” he explained. “The Pancho Villa thing — nobody remembers that.” Which is true. Instead, Mark’s substitution of Union soldiers seems certain to win him favor, at least locally. “I mean, for Christ’s sake, people still fight the Civil War down here,” he said. “I would gladly have changed the color of the uniforms — if I was from the North.”
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