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Attraction Profile www.parkworld-online.com


sculpted fibreglass dinosaurs that face off against Civil War soldiers in a series of bizarre scenes. As in the comic book, the wooded path is full of strange displays that could have only been dreamed up by Cline. In one scene, a steampunk Stonewall Jackson with a trench coat and telescoping arm battles a Spinosaurus. A Mennonite boy milking a Stegosaurus, and a huge ape stealing a pair of jeans from a caveman. At least one of the soldiers was made from a mould of Cline’s own head. Elsewhere, president Abraham Lincoln sits atop a building as a flying dinosaur makes off with his speech. “You can see that the bird is actually chewing up the Gettysburg address,” Cline said. “Now you know why the Gettysburg address was so short, because the Pteranodon ate most of it.”


“Nobody else is doing it the way I’m doing it,” Cline says.


“You create the story, you create the adventure, you become the hero of your own story. That’s what life’s all about.” Dinosaur Kingdom evolved out of one of Cline’s previous attractions, the Haunted Monster Museum. There, he populated a one-acre space with dinosaurs fighting Civil War soldiers to entertain folks waiting in line for the monster museum.


Slime monsters everywhere With Dinosaur Kingdom II, Cline brought the Civil War’s mythos and dinosaurs together in a way that acts as a funhouse mirror, squeezing the nation’s history into an absurdist revisioning. The park exists in a state where the majority of the Civil War’s battles were fought. Cline occasionally hears from customers and critics upset about his use of Civil War imagery at Dinosaur Kingdom II. His response is as irreverent as the park itself. “If anybody


can make an issue out of cartoon soldiers fighting dinosaurs with slime monsters everywhere, I say bring it on, I want to hear this!” Cline said. “This park is ridiculous. It’s meant to be ridiculous. But isn’t that what war is? War is ridiculous.” Dinosaur Kingdom II is a throwback to the old roadside attractions of the mid-20th century, when Americans explored the country in their automobiles. Businesses tried to entice them off the road and to spend a few dollars. “This is an old-time tourist attraction that sort of became extinct in the ‘70s,” Cline observes. “Now there’s a whole new generation of kids discovering this. Because this is a brand new experience for them. This is something that just doesn’t exist anymore—but yet, here it is.”


Love shack


When asked for an example of a possible future display at Dinosaur Kingdom II, Mark Cline pointed to one of the paths in the woods and said he might build a love shack for Dinosaur People at the end of it, where visitors could see proof that “the local hillbillies got romantic with some of the dinosaurs. This is about dinosaurs, and we’ve all heard about extinction. So I want this place to keep evolving.”


This park


is ridiculous. It’s meant to be ridiculous. But isn’t that what a war is? War is ridiculous.


38


WINTER PART 1 2021


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