Let’s go ahead and admit that we’re both sick to death of this stupid Chick-Fil-A story that won’t go away and then talk about something else. Do you know what that something is? Animatronic dinosaurs!
Other states’ hokey roadside attractions include such thrilling sights as giant balls of twine and museums dedicated to barbed wire. Not here in Jersey. When you pull off the highway in Jersey, we give you 31 actual-size animatronic dinosaurs that blink, roar, claw, look around, breathe, and wag their tails!
You gotta problem widdat?
The newly opened Field Station: Dinosaurs is located – believe it or not – next to the New Jersey Turnpike in Secaucus, about 10 minutes from the Lincoln Tunnel. Not that you’d know once you’re past the park entrance. The dinos are set up along a three-quarter-mile-long wooded trail that is designed to resemble a hybrid of Jurassic Park and a paleontological dig. The “dig” theme is a clever money saver, since canvas field tents are cheap to set up and lend atmosphere, as do the open-top jeeps parked around the place. Notable is the 90-foot-long Argentinosaurus, which their website claims is the world’s largest animatronic dino. Also, the cheese for the nachos they sell at the food stand was surprisingly spicy. No complaints there.
The park also offers, amongst other theatrics, an “animal show” in which Steve-Irwin-esque experts (with Australian accents!) bring out baby dinosaurs, including a T-Rex, and call for volunteers from the audience to help demonstrate dinosaur bite force and so on. On the day I was there, the baby Rex’s tail swung around and cracked some woman in the head who was busy yapping on her cell phone and not paying attention, which amused me quite a bit. But I happened to be eating the spicy nachos at the time, so I was already in a good mood.
If you stick around for the various shows, you might kill a couple of hours, but otherwise, you can see the whole park in about 45 minutes, which is just right for the average person’s attention span when it comes to robotic monsters. Some beasts were more impressive than others (the Pachycephalosaurs looked lifelike, but the Velociraptors seemed a bit rubbery), and it’s hard to say how well the creatures will hold up through the winter. Field Station: Dinosaurs has only been open a few months and some of them are already starting to show wear and tear.
Nevertheless, the site is fun for kids and for adults like me who remember Westworld and secretly fantasize about theme-park robots turning on their creators in a science fiction orgy of blood and explosions (Are you listening, Michael Bay?). Plus, it’s only a few minutes from New York City, another of New Jersey’s popular roadside attractions.
If you’re like me, you’re boycotting Chick-fil-A (my boycott started years ago, when I realized fast-food chicken sandwiches are disgusting) and now have extra time to fill. So why not stop by Secaucus for Dinosaur Appreciation Day and visit the Field Station? In case it’s important to you, paleontologists claim that prehistoric reptiles had no opinion whatsoever about gay marriage.
Sports writers are saying that America’s newest sweetheart, Gabby Douglas, didn’t just win individual all-around gymnasts gold for herself. She won it for all African-American women, breaking down barriers in spectacular fashion and ushering in a new era in which women of color can compete on the same balance beam as whites and Asians.
Now if only some other black girls would try out for the U.S. Olympic team in, say, track and field or volleyball. Or basketball even. I’m not sure if that would help our medal chances, but at least we could make social strides in the area of… wait. What? African-American women have been destroying the Olympic competition for decades? Dominique Dawes already won gymnastics gold 16 years ago? Sports writers are a corny, melodramatic lot who, on a side note, frequently abuse and misuse the word “irony”?
If I were writing a sports article about ethnicity in U.S. Women’s Olympics, I’d talk about how weird it is that the field hockey team is all white chicks. I’d ask the players how annoying it is that they can only use one side of the blade to shoot or pass. I’d tell them I can’t watch a sport with arbitrary rules that make the game less interesting by restricting the number of potential plays they can make. I’d ask them if they get backaches from using such comically short sticks.
But I wouldn’t write an article about what Gabby’s gold means, because I really only watch the Olympics to see scantily clad women smacking volleyballs around or jumping over hurdles. I don’t think I’m alone, either. The internet offers no shortage of opinions about who’s the hottest chick in the tournament (Michelle Jenneke of Australia seems to be the popular choice), but I must say that Destinee Hooker (!) of the U.S. volleyball team sure caught my attention the other day.
Standing approximately nine and a half feet tall, she may not qualify as one of the “petite” brunettes I favor, but I was quite proud of her every time she spiked the ball, or blocked it, or did whatever the volleyball people do. The U.S. won that game, probably, which also made me proud. Volleyball isn’t one of those sports like golf where the low score is better, is it?
By the way, I’ll bet the first kid who made fun of her name is also the last one. In fact, she probably did her very first spike with that kid’s head. Now she’s an Olympian. So thanks for representing our country, Destinee. And thank you for posing naked, which made choosing a lead image for this story so damned easy.