Brookfield Zoo's Sinclair Dinosaur – Brookfield, Illinois - Atlas Obscura

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Brookfield Zoo's Sinclair Dinosaur

It was originally part of a "terrible lizards" collection at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. 


In the mostly wooded northwest corner of Brookfield Zoo stands a figure that looks out of place among the masses of modern, living animals.

Lurking in the woods is a 32-foot-tall fiberglass sculpture of a duck-billed dinosaur that was built for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. When the statue was created, the dinosaur it depicts was called a Trachodon, though paleontologists have since stopped using that term. Originally, the statue was part of a collection of “terrible lizards” sponsored by the Sinclair Oil Company which also included a replica of its trademark Brontosaurus and Uncle Beazley the Triceratops.

Some of the specimens went missing after the collection was eventually disbanded. Luckily for the duck-billed dinosaur, the large, lizard-like creature has called Brookfield Zoo home since 1970. Originally a bright blue, it has dulled with age and is largely covered with moss, though you can still see most of its spots and facial details.

The sculpture was made by legendary wildlife sculptor Louis Paul Jonas, who also built the famous African Elephant exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Know Before You Go

The GPS coordinates lead to the zoo. The zoo is open 365 days year and is usually open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. but the closing time sometimes changes to 5:00 in the fall and winter. They do have night events but access to all parts of the zoo is limited. The dinosaur is located in the northwest corner of the zoo along the eastern bank of Indian Lake, across from "Habitat Africa! The Forest." Parking in the North Lot costs $15.00 (free for zoo members) and is also accessible from the Hollywood/Zoo Stop along the Metra Burlington Northern line.

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September 14, 2017

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