rapid city V: dinosaur park

Probably the most recognizable landmark in Rapid City, aside from the Hotel Alex Johnson and the Video Blue on Main Street, is the apatosaurus sculpture atop Dinosaur Park overlooking the city. We made our way up there, figuring that the high vantage point would squeeze out a few good panoramic shots.

Dinosaur Park had more gift shop than park. Of the five life-size dinosaurs I only saw four - the apatosaur, a tyrannosaur, a triceratops and a duck-billed anatotitan. Whither the stegosaurus, I dunno (but note the weirdly vanishing tail on the stegosaur, as if the earth were slowly digesting it). A few kids played around the sculptures and ran up and down the steps, while harried mothers hoarsely commanded obedience.

The dinosaurs of Dinosaur Park, with their enormous scale attempting to dwarf an amateurish execution, carried expressions of sadness and defeat. The tyrannosaur was caught in a pose not of aggression but supplication. The triceratops wore a look of combined terror and embarrassment at the tyrannosaur's behaviour, The brontosaur watched over the scene with an attitude of sheer despondence. The anatotitan was the only one who seemed to be enjoying himself, separated from the rest and overlooking the parking lot, although what pleasure can be derived from watching disappointed tourists is anyone's guess.

From the vantage point of the sad dinosaurs Rapid City turned out to be a flat plain interrupted by a big bump of a hill with frat characters shaved into its side.