Prehistoric World in Morrisburg, Ontario is a quaint throwback to roadside attractions of yore. There’s nothing fancy here; it’s just a stroll through the park among painted concrete dinosaurs and prehistoric mammals created by local artists Paul and Serge Dupuis, but it’s simple fun and education for a reasonable price.
The Dupuis brothers have been creating these life-sized sculptures for over 37 years. They depict primitive reptiles of the Paleozoic period to large mammals of the Cenozoic and Quaternary. Each sculpture features a plaque with information about the creature. There are currently over 50 sculptures.
For kids, there’s something fascinating about the hugeness of dinosaurs. It’s hard to believe creatures like this once existed. 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.
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Norm’s Diner at 171 Bridge Street (near the I-95 ramp) in Groton, Connecticut. Norm’s, a local favorite, recently came under new ownership. According to TheDay, it used to have a reputation as a greasy spoon, with a heavy emphasis on the grease. Its new owners freshened up the interior and replaced its original booths with wooden tables. Que será, será.
Eveready Diner, at 4184 U.S. Route 9 North (Albany Post Road), in Hyde Park, New York. According to nydiners.com, the Eveready is a 1995 Paramount model, #174. Paramount is a New Jersey company known for pioneering stainless steel exteriors. I love this retro design incorporating populux and doo wop elements.
The Dinosaur Place in Oakdale, Connecticut (southwest of Norwich) is a fun adventure park for kids of all ages. They even have an animatronic Dilophosaurus that spits water at you when you step into its cave! I loved dinosaurs as a kid, and would have been enthralled. When Jurassic Park came out in 1993, I was so excited I refused to change my Jurassic Park t-shirt until we saw it.
The Dinosaur Place grew out of a shop called Nature’s Art, which displayed fossils and gem stones. It was so popular that by 2003 the owners were able to open an expansion featuring life-like depictions of these prehistoric creatures. Families can easily spend an afternoon (and a small fortune) here. In addition to the dinosaurs, there’s also a maze and splashpad for kids.
Visitors stroll the 60-acre park along a 1.5 mile trail, where sculptures depicting over 40 types of dinosaurs are on display. Compared to Dinosaur World in Plant City, Florida, The Dinosaur Place emphasizes activities over science, although information panels accompany each type of dinosaur. There is a side trail specifically dedicated to dinosaurs that lived in the area that would become Connecticut.
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Modern Diner at 364 East Avenue in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. This early-twentieth century Sterling Streamliner was the first diner to be placed on the National Register for Historic Places, and is one of two Sterling Streamliners still in operation. It’s easy to see the diner’s origin in dinning railroad cars in this early model.
Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner, 100 W Albany Street, Herkimer, Herkimer County, New York, was voted Readers’ Choice Best Upstate New York Diner. Crazy Otto’s is a 1952 Mountainview. They serve the “world’s largest omelet,” and the diner’s neon lights look great at night too.
There isn’t much to see in the little town of Gays in Moultrie County, Illinois, population 274. Its claim to fame is a two-story outhouse, probably unique to Illinois but one of several in the United States. Built in 1872, it was formerly connected to a general store with apartments on the second floor. The outhouse was two stories tall so apartment residents didn’t have to go downstairs to “conduct business”. Unfortunately, the old brick building had to be torn down in 1984, but the town carefully preserved its lone tourist attraction.