Dinos ready for their debut

More than 40 animatronic dinosaurs will be on display when Field Station: Dinosaurs opens this weekend. The attraction has been in the planning stages for several years and will be open on a daily basis until Sept. 15, after which it will be open on weekends.

The long-planned 14-acre Derby Field Station: Dinosaurs will be opening at 10 a.m. this Saturday at the northwest corner of Rock Road and Patriot Avenue.

So what do you need to know for a visit?

A top question has been the ticket pricing and in that regard, all-day tickets are $13.50 for children 2-11 years old and $16.50 for older youth and adults.

The day pass includes viewing all the dinosaurs, live shows, games and activities.

Visitors will receive a trail map upon entry to the park that lists all show times.

Executive producer Guy Gsell has said that season passes have proven popular at the enterprise’s initial Field Station in New Jersey as they pay off by the fourth visit and many families make repeat visits during the season.

Season passes for all ages are $49.50 each.

There are two parts of the park that are separately priced and neither require gate admission. The miniature golf is $7.50 for children 2-11 and $10.50 for adults. There also is a ropes course set within a dome and it costs $9.50 for children and $12.50 for adults.

Opening hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, with the Jurassic Golf, or miniature golf course remaining open until 10 p.m.

The park and its 44 dinosaurs will be open on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day.

Come Sept. 15, the attraction’s fall season starts and the venue will be closed weekdays and open from 10 a.m to 5 pm. Saturdays and Sundays.

The park will be available all year for parties and events, and an official said that would even include nuptials for an adventuresome couple.

“We’d love to host a wedding,” said spokesman Bruce Rowley.

Getting the park finished on time meant a lot of extra effort and time, but it fell into place due to a lot of advance planning, said site manager and dinosaur technician Steven Howe.

He called the process of getting the park built “a great adventure.”

“It’s been a lot of fun, but there are a lot of moving pieces to this,” he said.

Considering that the dinosaurs just arrived recently and there wasn’t much at the site two months ago, the progress has been swift.

“Everyone has commented on how fast it has gone,” he said.

There was weekend work but all of it was done in daylight hours.

Gsell said that it “wasn’t all smooth sailing, but every obstacle we hit we managed to find a way to overcome it.”

“It was a hectic pace but ended up being pretty good,” he said.

The attraction is designed for family fun, but also to be educational, Gsell said.

In that regard, Gsell said scientists from the Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute have worked to ensure that the exhibition encompasses the latest theories and discoveries in the fields of paleontology, geology, and environmental studies.

Along with Howe, the rest of the park’s staff is in place, too.

Lon Smith has been named general manager.

Other newly hired members of the management team include Bonnie Burley, box office manager; Lucia Fierro, retail manager; and Garion Masterson, associate producer.

Smith is a familiar face to many in the region, having most recently served as chief development officer at the Museum of World Treasures in Wichita. Prior to that, Smith served for nearly eight years as executive director at the Kansas Aviation Museum.

Find more information at www.kansasdinos.com.