The staff at and local lawmakers are hoping that the state bond commission will approve a grant for $180,000 to help renovate the Discovery Room inside the Connecticut museum.
The funding, which will be administered through the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, would be used for the following items:
- Display hundreds of specimens by using pullout drawers to address space issues. Many of the specimens were in storage and all of them could not be displayed at the same time.
- Remove stationary table and replace it with a rolling one
- Increase seating (small table for younger children, bench seating for parents and round tables instead of the rectangle ones that are in the room now)
- Specialty lighted displays and better ability to view animals easier and safer
- Make the space more handicapped accessible.
- Replace carpeting with one that has dinosaur footprints on it
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"Pretty much everything will be renovated. The room will have a whole new look," said Meg Enkler, environmental education coordinator at Dinosaur State Park. "It will be much more interactive, much more modern and much more space."
President of Friends of Dinosaur State Park Kathleen Kennedy said the Discovery Room is 35 years old and is "in dire need" of the renovations.
"The redesign will bring the Discovery Room into the 21st century," she said in a press release Friday morning. "The friends group has been actively seeking funding for the project and we are delighted that the state of Connecticut plans to approve the request. We are most anxious to get started on the project.”
The staff at Dinosaur State Park will know if they received the grant funding after the special meeting of the state bond commission scheduled for Monday.
State Sen. Paul Doyle (D-Wethersfield, Rocky Hill) said the investment in the renovation of the state park will "breathe new life into prehistoric fossils and dino-tracks," which will lead to more students and their families visiting the park and museum.
"Dinosaur State Park is a real treasure. Where else in Connecticut can kids go to follow dinosaur footprints millions of year back in time to learn about the biggest creatures to have ever roamed the earth,” he said in a press release Friday morning.
State Rep. Tony Guerrera (D-Rocky Hill) agreed with his colleague.
“These renovations will benefit the thousands of students who visit Dinosaur State Park each year,” he said in a release Friday morning. “The Jurassic-era tracks may be more than 200 million years old, but the state is committed to keeping the exhibits up to the standards of today’s curriculum.”
Discovered in 1966 and opened to the public two years later, Dinosaur State Park is one of the largest dinosaur track sites in North America. The park and museum were built after the discovery of 2,000 early Jurassic dinosaur footprints. More than 50,000 people visit the park each year.
For more information about Dinosaur State Park, call the park at 860-529-5816 or visit the website.