Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 13th, 2008
Since I’m exploring the Florida wilds of the St. Johns River, looking for evidence or indications of Pinky, the living dinosaur, I thought I’d take a side trek into civilization to visit Dinosaur World. Located just north of Tampa, it is off I-4, at Exit 17 in Plant City.
It took me several hours of driving to reach it, but I figured if anyone would know anything about Pinky the dinosaur, it would be these folks.
With over 150 life-size dinosaur statues and other creations to be seen on the walking tour of the grounds of Dinosaur World, you would expect to hear Jurassic Park music blaring from speakers and crowds of people. The fiberglass models form an outdoor museum that harkens back to an earlier time, in more ways than one.
When I visited on Wednesday, March 12, 2008, counting the one young German couple and their boy who arrived after me, that made four people there between 9-10 am. The father kindly agreed to take my photograph in front of some bipedal reddish dinosaurs in front of the “Dinosaur Museum” (which was limited in nature – there was more to see in the gift shop). Something to remember the moment, I’m sure, but probably not too cryptozoologically significant, as far as photographic evidence for Pinky.
The quiet of walking around the place was only broken by local birdlife and flowing water. I enjoyed it that way, and I assume the early hour, mid-week, and late winter timing helped. If you are in the area, it is worth a visit if you enjoy such venues, but don’t expect anything as thrilling and high energy as Disney World or Universal. This is an old-fashioned-style attraction that has no flash and thunder to it.
Most of the dinosaurs are very colorful, but, of course, since no one knows what color dinosaurs were, these people might have it right. I was most intrigued to see that one small dino was painted with jaguar spots. I guess if it works in modern situations, there’s no reason it didn’t solve some prey-predator problems back in prehistoric times.
Now, back to Pinky: The first person I asked about Pinky merely shrugged off the question, said she’d never heard of Pinky, and noted the only dinosaur she’d ever heard of was “Sue.” (No, she wasn’t trying to be funny.)
Later I asked the person who appeared to be the park manager-for-the-day and another woman at the gift store. They knew zippo about Pinky, and, in general, my questions received those looks like I was from Mars or something. I’m use to that, but it was time to move on, anyway.
I did get the feeling, as mentioned, this was a spot created a few decades ago. I wondered if its opening influenced the rash of Pinky reports from the 1970s. But no such theory can be carried forth due to Dinosaur World.
This site was only founded and built ten years ago.
Although it seemed like a sidetrip into the 1950s, my journey to Dinosaur World merely served as another leg in my attempts to find out more about Pinky.
P.S. The snake I saw along the St. Johns River was apparently a banded water snake (Nerodia fasciata), although the bands colored red were much more vivid than in this pictured example.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.