dino3July 26, 2018 -- It is often said that some 280 million years ago, Dinosaurs ruled the earth. Movies like Jurassic Park, documentaries and educational books promote the evolutionary claim that dinosaurs dominated our planet for well over 100 million years. But, at Westchester County’s Lasdon Park in Katonah, Dinosaurs are alive and well.

Footprints, plant specimens and life-sized replicas of a Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor and Brachiosaurus are just some of the features boasted by the Dinosaur Garden at Lasdon Park, dating back hundreds of millions of years. The Westchester County Parks Department has even taken the Dinosaur Garden one step further, by teaming up with the creators of smartphone app “Zappar,” which allows for an animated, interactive experience as you roam through the dinosaur forest.

When visitors scan the “Zap Codes” placed throughout the stages of the garden, they are instantly transported back in time. Participants can watch and learn about how the dinosaurs evolved through a time lapse, that provides information about the species, how they lived, what they ate, and what the earth looked like during that time. 

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “I love that we have dinosaurs here in Westchester County, and that our visitors can be exposed to a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The interactive app adds an entirely new layer to Lasdon Park, and offers fresh insight into the amazing anatomy of Dinosaurs from millions of years ago.”

Deputy Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Conservation Peter Tartaglia said: “A Dinosaur Garden at Lasdon makes perfect sense, it features plants whose lineage go back to the time of dinosaurs, tells the storied history of the dinosaur era and has fun props along the way. We are always looking for ways to attract families to Lasdon. Everyone loves dinosaurs and the staff created this treasure for everyone to enjoy, plus it’s educational.”

Manager of Lasdon Park Ted Kozlowski said: “What provides a unique aspect to this exhibit is the addition of a virtual reality component, where the visitor can scan the codes on each sign and listen to them roar or watch dinosaurs stomp across the screen. This type of display not only teaches us about the botanical world as it evolved through the eons but gives our visitors a glimpse of life over 280 million years ago within a visually immersive learning experience…and it’s fun!”

Caroline Genovese, Senior Graphic Illustrator who helped develop the concept of the Dinosaur Garden said: “The concept of creating a Dinosaur Garden at Lasdon Park came after our Train Show where the theme was all about dinosaurs.  It was a big success, and what child doesn’t like dinosaurs?  Our mission and message is about conservation and the botanical world. Knowing that more than 41 percent of our visitors are between the ages of 35 – 44, (young families with children) I wanted to appeal to that audience and dinosaurs was a way to do this. With that in mind, I created the virtual reality signage to both educate and entertain all within a botanical setting.”

The Dinosaur Garden is one of the permanent exhibits at Lasdon Park, along with an arboretum, a Chinese peace garden, a Veterans museum and outdoor concerts during the summer months. It’s a tranquil, hidden gem in Westchester County’s Parks system, so stop by for a visit and witness its rich history.