Dinosaur Park – Dinosaur Sculptures on Display

Apatosaurus in Dinosaur Park

Rapid City, South Dakota.

High on a ridge overlooking Rapid City, South Dakota, several dinosaur sculptures keep watch over the city. The park, operated by the Rapid City Parks Department, contains several sculptures designed by Emmet Sullivan and constructed in a joint project with the City of Rapid City and the Works Progress Administration. Completed in 1936, the park is free and open to the public.

The opening photo, I discovered in researching this article, is not an accurate representation of what it looks like today. Apparently earlier this spring, a hail storm accompanied by strong gusty winds knocked the head off of this sculpture made of a two-inch pipe skeleton and concrete laid over a wire mesh infrastructure. From the article I read, the area around the dinosaur formerly known as a brontosaurus is blocked from visitor access.

Editor’s note: A recent visit to the park by a family member confirmed that the damage to the apatosaurus has been repaired.

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Visitor Center

A visitor center and gift shop is located near the park’s parking area. The park is closed in the winter but otherwise is open daily from dawn to dusk. There is some significance to the area in that along the ridge where the park is built, dinosaurs and dinosaur footprints from the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous periods have been found.

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View from the Visitor Center

At the highest point on the ridge, the dinosaurs are lined up along a walkway. A relatively steep climb is required as there is no handicap-accessible route available. These photographs were taken in September 2021, so the depiction is prior to the damage that occurred to the apatosaurus.

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Edmontosaurus annectens

I am not a dinosaur expert and only know a few types. I had to look up the name of this duck-billed dinosaur. Wikipedia helped me identify this interesting species which takes its name in part from its first discoveries around Edmonton, Canada.

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Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops

This is one dinosaur park where kids of all ages are allowed to play on the exhibits. The Internet is filled with photos of families posing on the sculptures that most lend themselves to being climbed.

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View from the ridge

The dinosaur sculptures are interesting, but for me, I found the most interest in the panoramic views of the area from the highest points on the ridge. What follows is a gallery of panoramic images I gathered from various vantage points at Dinosaur Park.

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Rapid City with the Black Hills in the distance
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Rapid City looking east
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View to the northwest

You can click on any of the images above to pixel peep in 2K HD on my Flickr site, or you can visit the Flickr album here.

John Steiner

16 comments

  1. Looks great. I have a daughter and she was crazy about dinosaurs. During the pandemic last year we managed to visit a Dinosaur outdoor themepark , really life-size dinosaurs, it was an amazing experience even for us adults.

  2. Great shots, John! Smart thinking that the parks department built a tribute to these huge reptiles. Only to have a hailstorm knock off the bronto’s head! Hope it’s fixed soon. Great panoramic shots, too!

  3. Poor the dinosaur… Regardless, it’s an interesting place. I’m no expert on dinosaurs these days, but I grew up reading about it and going to dinosaur-themed museums and places is still very satisfying to me to this day. Great vistas too.

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