Inside Derby’s dino park: “Dinosaur doctors” glue, stitch and paint animals

Local

The nation’s largest dinosaur park is set to open in a matter of weeks. KSN got a behind the scenes look at the preparations leading up to opening day. 

On Monday, construction crews were out in full force. Some crews focused on landscaping while others had their attention on the animatronic dinosaurs.

“We just hired some local artists and they were trained by the manufacturers’ representatives that were here on site assembling these and they got about a days worth of training and then off they went. They are doing a fabulous job,” said Field Station Dinosaurs Park Manager Lon Smith.

The artists are tasked with piecing together the legs and bodies of more than 30 life-sized dinosaurs.

“They had to be small enough to be shipped in a shipping container so there is a lot of assembly,” explained the park’s operation’s manager.

“It’s put together in sections and then it has to be stitched together, actually glued and then held together with a large sort of u-bolt,” Smith explained.

Once the glue has dried, the artists use a needle and thread to stitch each dinosaur together. 

“They are literally hand stitching every single attachment point. It’s a lot of work. It takes a lot of time,” he said.

Smith said crews have already spent more than 200 hours gluing and stitching the dinosaurs together. He said it’s an intricate job that must be done precisely.

Once the sewing is complete, the stitched area is covered with silicon and then painted. Smith said the goal is for the dinosaurs to look as realistic as possible.

“We worked with top paleontologists and these dinosaurs are representative of the most current knowledge that we have about how we believe dinosaurs would have appeared,” he said. 

The park will also offer putt-putt golf, a ropes course and concession stand. Smith said the goal is to create a family, friendly destination.

“It’s going to be great for our community. From a monetary standpoint, it’s going to bring new people to the Wichita, Derby area,” he said.

The park officially opens on May 26 at 10 a.m.

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