Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dinosaur Land

A few weeks ago, some of my students told me that they had decided to take a class trip to 常州恐龙园 (Changzhou Konglong Yuan, Changzhou Dinosaur Park). They asked me if I would like to go, to which I told them, "Yes, I would! I love dinosaurs!" (Later, a few of the students, worried I had misunderstood them, explained to me that they didn't have "real" dinosaurs, hahaha.)

By the way, maybe no one will think this is interesting, but "dinosaur" in English comes from Greek "deinos" meaning "terrible" and "sauros" meaning "lizard." In Chinese, its very close: 恐, "kong", meaning "fearful" (close to terrible), and 龙, "long", meaning "dragon." In English slang, dinosaur can refer to a person stuck in old ways and methods, refusing to use modern ones, or to an outdated machine like a car or computer. In Chinese slang, 恐龙,dinosaur refers to an ugly girl.

So this last Saturday morning, April 18, I and about 100 students (of which only about 30 were my students) boarded 2 buses at 6am and headed toward Changzhou, a city that is a 2-and-a-half hour bus ride away. I brought my DS and had a freshly downloaded movie (Requiem For A Dream) loaded onto my iPod, so I was able to stave boredom on the ride.

The park itself is actually a dinosaur-themed amusement park with a dinosaur museum also inside the park. The museum is only a small part of the park, but they did have some fairly impressive and complete fossils. (Just so everyone is aware, if you can't see things very clearly, you can click on the picture to load the larger image of it.)

Sichuanosaurus. Why? Because it was found in Sichuan province.

The plaque called it "Tuojiangosaurus," but I think of him as ol' stego.

I know the lighting in this picture is very bad, but I tried to take this picture from many angles to no avail. Anyhow it was too huge and complete and impressive to not include. This brontosaurus looking fella is called Mamenchisaurus.

This is a miniature of what the above might have looked like when he was alive.

Classic Triceratops

Now, why they had mechanical bulls INSIDE the dinosaur museum I'll never know. But I wasn't gonna pass up that opportunity.

There was some interesting scenery in the park with dinosaur statues strewn about, the most impressive of which, I thought, were the apatasaurus-like constructions inside the lake that had moving parts and made noise.

Trusty Cretaceous Steed

Ah, its the friendly, neighborhood mail-velociraptor!

A family of apatasaurs taking a dip.

There's not a lot of room for these horny guys to fight.

This was actually a reasonably cool looking T-Rex. Unfortunately, due to the position of the sun, this was the best lit angle I could take.

The apatosaurs had moving heads and roared. Therefore, they must be real dinosaurs. (The entire image doesn't display in this window, please click to see the entire image. By splicing two images from slightly different angles together, this "maybe" creates a slight 3D effect.)

In terms of thrill rides, there were actually several, maybe a couple dozen rides, only one of which was a roller coaster. However, the roller coaster was more of a "children's" roller coaster. Despite that, the other thrill rides were still pretty fun.

Saw this while waiting in line. The hamburgler would not be welcome. Admittedly this warning is not incorrect, I just think the use of the word "burgling" was funny.

The only major problem we faced that day was the same problem you'd face at any major theme park on a weekend... large crowds and long lines. Other than that, it was actually a pretty fun time. The park itself, in terms of quality, design, decoration, cleanliness, theme, and all those metrics that you'd use to describe a theme park, I would say were on par with Busch Gardens minus the zoo and roller coasters, so a pretty solid enterprise.

Finally, I saw this as we were leaving, and I don't know why, but I think it's funny.


  1. That place seems like it would be cool to see. Especially those models in the lake. Why were there statues with cloths on them? The roller coaster poster was the best though. I wonder if its just a bad translation or if they really believe we talk that way.


  2. u even have a picture moving...wow, looks so real.
    funny how they butcher our language but then we more than likely do "wonders" to theirs!!
    glad u are having fun!

  3. Never been, my cousin want to take me though.