For decades, I carried with me a hazy memory of visiting a forest full of dinosaur statues at a very early age.
I wasn’t entirely sure it wasn’t a dream until one day it occurred to me to look it up.
Sure enough, the Dinosaur Gardens in Ossineke, Michigan is a real place that’s still in operation.
I must’ve been four or five when we visited it, and it’s clearly been updated since, but the original life-sized concrete beasts remain.
I recently came across this pamphlet from my visit there in the early 80s. It was in a box of random odds and ends in my parents’ attic.
We stopped at a lot of roadside attractions on our family vacations, but this one has stuck with me, even though for many years I thought I might have dreamed it. I still get blurry flashes of memories of the gift shop, of walking through the woods, of looking up and seeing these massive prehistoric creatures towering over me.
The park had to be, at least partially, the inspiration behind a story I wrote the other day entitled “Other.” I didn’t consciously think of the connection as I wrote it, nor did I recognize it as a source of inspiration, but it’s there. I’d love to visit it again, someday, in person, and reconnect with the part of myself that I left there.