515 West Boulevard, Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 394-4175 FAX: (605) 394-5307
Dinosaur Park is located at 940 Skyline Drive on 20 acres and is home to historic life-sized concrete dinosaur figures. It is a very popular destination for tourists and local residents alike. The Park also includes a restroom and gift shop which is open from May 31st thru September 6th.
Skyline Drive is a scenic roadway that runs along the hogback ridge that divides Rapid City geographically east and west. The dinosaur figures, constructed in the late 1930's, are listed on the Register of Historic Places.
Dinosaur Park Master Plan Project
Dinosaur Park was constructed as a memorial to “perpetuate the facts of history, and to acquaint the present generation and others to follow with a fair idea as to the appearance, size and characteristics of these, our earliest known inhabitants”, according the Short History and Guide to Dinosaur Park. Since its construction in 1936-1938, Dinosaur Park has attracted tourists and residents alike to ponder, play on and poke fun at our concept of dinosaurs in the 1930’s. The park includes five dinosaur figures made of reinforced concrete and steel representing the Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus), Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and Trachodon (Anatotitan) designed and built by E.A. Sullivan and a WPA work crew.
Dinosaur Park is set atop the Dakota Hogback ridge that bisects Rapid City at the edge of Rapid Gap, where Rapid Creek flows through the hogback. The narrow winding Skyline Drive, another WPA project constructed just prior to Dinosaur Park, is the only vehicular access to the park. Other landmarks along Skyline Drive are Hangman’s Tree, the Petrified Forest, Skyline Amphitheater and several rock cairns, retaining walls and building foundations with purposes long since lost. Multiple footpaths and trails braid the hillsides of the hogback ridge.
The Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus) is a highly visible Rapid City icon from multiple locations in town and likewise, the 270° view from the hogback ridge at Dinosaur Park offers incredible views. The site has undergone numerous changes since its inception, including new stairs, railings, retaining walls and visitor center / snack shop in 1968. Since 1968, various walkway, paving, fencing, safety surfacing, dinosaur restoration, repainting and lighting projects have been implemented resulting in a patchwork of different materials, construction styles and levels of access in the park. In 1990, the sculptures were placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The structures of significance are the five original dinosaurs; those parts of the park constructed between 1936 and 1940. The 1968 retaining walls, stairs and handrails are included within the boundary of the NRHP site and should be considered potentially significant. The two dinosaurs near the concession stand were construction by E.A. Sullivan in the mid-1950’s, and are not within the NRHP site boundary.
The Dinosaur Park Master Plan is a sister project to the Skyline Wilderness Trailhead Development project and will include designs for ADA access to Dinosaur Hill and other enhancements, potentially including grading, circulation, lighting, picnic shelters, overlook features, playgrounds, interpretive exhibits, historic restoration, parking, trailhead and signage improvements. The goal of the Master Plan is to guide the safe, entertaining use of the park over the long term through site analysis, public and staff input, and strategic fundraising guidance for implementation of the concept. The Master Plan will also reinforce the goals of the 2009 Skyline Wilderness Area Trails Plan for providing universal access to Dinosaur Park in the best way possible.
Click here to view the Dinosaur Park Master Plan.