Dinosaur Gardens - Ossineke, Michigan
Prehistoric Zoo - www.dinosaurgardensllc.com
In the summer of 1935, Paul Domke began work in the small town of Ossineke on what would become a world famous project, the Dinosaur Gardens - Ossineke’s Prehistoric Zoo. Mr. Domke had searched for just the right spot for his project. He wanted a spot that would recreate an authentic environment for his giant creations.
The site he chose is a cedar lowland with huge ferns, majestic cedars and the Devil's River meandering through. Mr. Domke and his crew built a bridge over the river, they constructed a 1/2 mile trail through the wilderness and prepared picturesque spots to showcase the sculptures he planned to create. The first display was started in 1935 and later finished in 1936. During the years of artistic creation, every effort was made to preserve the natural state of the park environment.
Along the trail you will find depictions of an iguanadon, a velocirapter, a tar pit, a stegosaurus and many more. If you look closely, there is even a dinosaur fish sculpture near the bridge. The gardens include about 20 acres. In addition to the enormous sculptures, wildflowers abound, giant ferns grow among the cedar trees and on the ridge there are White Pines, Norway Pines and Hemlock trees.
The Dinosaur Gardens required nearly forty years to create and contains over 25 life-size dinosaurs from various periods of history. Unlike so many of these attractions that were created from the 1930's to the 1950's, this one has been preserved and is still in operation today. The bridge over the Devils River is still there. The pathway wanders through the cedars and dinosaurs are revealed as you hike through the ferns and trees. The workmanship on the displays is remarkable and the settings are very realistic. Visitors say they feel like little kids again as they wander through the gardens. I really enjoyed this place.