It’s hard to describe my feelings in visiting Dinosaur World in Plant City, Florida. When Jurassic Park came out in 1993, it was the summer before I entered junior high. My family and I were visiting friends in Florida, and I was so excited I refused to change my Jurassic Park t-shirt until we saw it. That’s how much I loved dinosaurs. The 12-year-old me would have been in heaven at Dinosaur World.
I’m not sure why kids are so fascinated by dinosaurs, but they absorb so much knowledge about the subject it puts adults to shame. Kids can rattle off complex Latin names with ease. I’ve forgotten half of what I used to know about all the different species and popular theories. For a theme park like this to be successful, it’s got to be able to withstand the inquisitive questioning of an eight year old and ignite his or her imagination.
Dinosaur World does all these things. I couldn’t believe how many different dinosaurs and other prehistoric species they had on display. You could spend hours navigating the park. There are over 150 life-size dinosaur sculptures, created by Swedish businessman Christer Svensson. The sculptures are made from polystyrene foam, fiberglass, and putty.
In 2017, I visited over two dozen diners in Upstate New York to indulge my own sense of nostalgia and share my love for diner culture with my readers. These were never meant to be reviews, per se, just a bit of what each diner has to offer. In case you missed it, here are links to the entire series! The diners are organized by city in alphabetical order.
Adams, New York
Located in downtown Adams, New York near Sandy Creek, Gram’s is a modern diner with a contemporary style. According to the Watertown Daily Times, Gram’s has been open for decades, with a handmade, wooden sign above the door (you can see old photos in this article). New owners took over Gram’s in 2013 and updated its decor to give it a fresh new look.
Amsterdam, New York
North of Amsterdam in the Mohawk Valley, nestled among strip malls near the intersection of Route 30 and Log City Road, sits the Amsterdam Diner. This is the latest establishment to go by that name. Apparently there was an older Amsterdam Diner south of town off Exit 27. This establishment used to be called the Olympic Diner, but came under new ownership. It is a modern or Greek-style diner.
South 30 Diner
Amsterdam, New York
Along a rural stretch of Route 30 south of Amsterdam in Montgomery County, New York, the South 30 Diner appears at the roadside like a tiny farm smokehouse. It is a rustic, country-style diner with a capital “C”. The owners want you to feel like you’re in grandma’s kitchen. Anita (presumably the owner) left a special message on the menu: “As a food artiste, I see the beauty in all from a carrot to a cracker. To create a meal, is to create a work of art, it is not only nourishing but an expression of love.”
Blue Dolphin Diner
Apalachin, New York
The Blue Dolphin Diner, off New York State Route 17 in Apalachin, New York west of Binghamton, is a Greek-style diner with a very unique sign and a dolphin statue visible from the highway. This place is a travelers’ favorite and opened in 1989.