Petrified Creatures Museum of Natural History – Richfield Springs, New York - Atlas Obscura
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Richfield Springs, New York

Petrified Creatures Museum of Natural History

This roadside dinosaur park offered up lumpy neon thunder lizards in the name of kitsch and education. 

Sorry, Petrified Creatures Museum of Natural History is permanently closed.

Originally opened in 1934, the Petrified Creatures Museum of Natural History is a classic roadside dinosaur park that features misshapen creatures and a mineral-filled gift shop, but it sets itself apart with its brightly colored dinosaurs and acceptance of camp.  

Created in the mold of other, similar roadside dinosaur parks, each designed to entice families on road trips to pull over and buy marked up fossils from the gift shop while taking in the homemade prehistoric creatures, the Petrified Creatures Museum embraces its kitsch status. Each of the concrete dinosaurs which stand in the backyard of the gift shop/house seems to have been molded from a vague memory of a picture of a dinosaur the creator once saw. From a t-rex that is seemingly a torso with teeth, to the brontosaurus with the crimped neck, to the triceratops with the soft round horns, each of the beasts is certainly unique. To make them even more strange, the new owners of the museum have painted each one a blinding shade or pink, orange, or similar shade of garish. Each dinosaur is also accompanied by a ramshackle information station consisting of a button in a mailbox that spouts info when pressed.

The only thing resembling actual archaeology at the site is the large digging pit where visitors actually have a pretty solid chance of finding a fossil among the prehistoric stones. However, the location seems more interested in the mid-20th century charm of their establishment than the accuracy of ancient biology.  

Update: Sadly, the museum was closed permanently on June 16, 2016 and is currently for sale. The telephone number is no longer in service as well.