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Sinclair Dinoland














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The 1964 World's Fair took place at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, New York.  Many of the exhibits gave the world a space age view on the future.  One exhibit however, took spectators far back into the distant past.  The Sinclair Oil Corporation sponsored "Dinoland", which featured life-size replicas of nine dinosaurs, including a seventy foot long version of Sinclair Oil Corporation's signature Brontosaurus.

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Louis Paul Jonas, a famed exhibit designer was enlisted to accurately design the nine fiberglass dinosaurs to inhabit Dinoland.  Jonas (1894-1971) is well known today for the fine museum dioramas he created, such as those at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, Connecticut and the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  The dinosaurs for Sinclair Dinoland were created over a two year period at the Jonas Studios located in Hudson, New York.  Two were mechanized, the nineteen-foot tall Tyrannosaurus and the magnificent Brontosaurus.  Jonas enlisted the help of famed paleontologists Barnum Brown and Edwin Colbert of the American Museum of Natural History and John Ostrom of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History to insure the accuracy of his mighty creations.
 
The life-size dinosaurs represented were:

Tyrannosaurus
Brontosaurus (=Aptosaurus)
Triceratops
Stegosaurus
Ankylosaurus
Corythosaurus
Trachodon
Struthiomimus
Ornitholestes

Dinosaurs on the Hudson

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From Jonas Studios, the completed dinosaurs were transported one hundred and twenty-five miles on a barge down the Hudson River and around Manhattan Island to Flushing Bay and to their Dinoland home at the New York's World Fair.  They were greeted by thousands of spectators on the shoreline while New York City fire boats sprayed out great streams of water.
















Sinclair at the World's Fair (1965)

By the time the New York World's Fair closed in October 1965, "Dinoland" had been enjoyed by over ten million people.  The Sinclair Dinosaurs would next spent a period of time as a traveling exhibit. They even made an appearance in the 1966 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Today, Sinclair Oil Corporation no longer owns the dinosaurs.  An offer to donate the impressive dinosaur collection to the Smithsonian Museum was reportedly rejected.  After the traveling exhibit ended, the Brontosaurus and Tyrannosaurus found a home at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas.   The Triceratops is owned by the Louisville Science Center in Kentucky.  Sadly, it has been neglected and is now in poor condition and no longer on public display.  It is currently stored outdoors at an industrial park in South Louisville.  The Trachodon watches over the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois. The Stegosaurus was donated to Dinosaur National Monument, and is located in Jensen, Utah, still on display to this day.  Its unusual repainting has generated some controversy. A duplicate of this Stegosaurus (a.k.a. Wally) resides on the front lawn of the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.  The remaining Sinclair Dinosaurs each found museum homes with the exception of Ornitholestes which was stolen and never recovered.

The Sinclair Dinosaurs Today

Brontosaurus
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Dinosaur Valley State Park; Glen Rose TX

Tyrannosaurus
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Dinosaur Valley State Park; Glen Rose, TX

Triceratops
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Louisville Science Center; Louisville, KY

Stegosaurus
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Dinosaur National Monument; Jensen, UT

Corythosaurus
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Riverside Park; Independence, KS

Ankylosaurus
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Houston Museum of Natural Science; Houston, TX

Struthiomimus
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Milwaukee Public Museum; Milwaukee, WI

Trachodon
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Brookfield Zoo; Brookfield, IL

Ornitholestes
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Missing !

Mold-A-Rama

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Sinclair Dinoland Brontosaurus

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Seven Sinclair Dinoland Souvenirs

Perhaps the most popular souvenirs of the 1964 New York World's Fair were the toy dinosaurs produced by the Mold-A-Rama machines at the Sinclair Dinoland exhibit.  For only twenty-five cents visitors could mold a still-warm dinosaur from Dinoland. Seven different designs were available.  American inventor John H. "Tike" Miller designed the free standing molding machines which created a blow molded plastic souvenir right before your eyes.

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Click here: Dinoland Guidebook

Click here: The Berkshire Museum--Who's Wally?

Click here: Jonas Studio Dinosaurs

Click here: Sinclair Oil Corporation's Dinoland Page

Click here: Sinclair Mold-A-Rama Souvenirs

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Frank J. Leskovitz
1995-2014

fleskovitz@aol.com