Pinky Expedition: Dinosaur World

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.

water snake

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
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.

11 Responses to “Pinky Expedition: Dinosaur World”

  1. kittenz responds:

    I think that Dinosaur World was probably influenced by Jurassic Park more than by legends of “Pinky” 🙂 .

    I lived in north-central Florida in the early 1970s. My family lived near Orange Lake, in the middle of a large commercial orange grove (which no longer exists, due to some climate changes that occurred during the 1980s). At that time, Orange Lake was still a very large, deep lake, teeming with wildlife. Hiking to the lake was something that my brothers and I did almost every day. Orange Lake is not too far from the St. Johns River. I don’t recall ever hearing about any legends of Pinky (or any other type of surviving dinosaur). I did hear all kinds of stories about Swamp Apes, but it was sort of a tongue-in-cheek type of thing; nobody really took it seriously.

    Of course that’s not to say that there weren’t any legends of Pinky floating around at the time; it may be just that I didn’t hear of them.

    I believe that reports of dinosaurs in Florida are more likely misidentified alligators. Another good possibility is that they could be feral monitor lizards. Well not feral exactly; feral animals are domestic animals that have gone wild and monitor lizards have never been domesticated. I guess introduced monitor lizards would be the correct terminology. Certainly there are breeding populations of some fairly large monitors in Florida. Someone coming upon one unexpectedly could very well think they had seen a bipedal dinosaur.

    My dad has lived in that part of Florida for nearly four decades now. Before he developed cancer he was an avid coonhunter and spent many nights out in the swamps. My brothers live near Gainesville too. I asked them if they knew of any legends of an animal like Pinky, and none of them have heard of it. All of them have heard stories of Swamp Apes but neither of them have ever seen any. Maybe Swamp Apes are more likely to be inhabitants of southern Florida, south of Orlando, where the conditions are more subtropical.

  2. slappy responds:

    there are many of these dinosaur park all over the country, some of them very strange. one i visited in michigan is here:

    it includes the dinosaurs’ relationship with cavemen and jesus.

    really, it does.

  3. aguilar5_9 responds:

    Dude is this guy serriously looking for a living dinosaur in florida I mean come on lets keep cryptomundo serrious!

  4. vance responds:

    COuld this be the root of some pinky stories? Built in 1927…

  5. kittenz responds:

    Um, dude, uh, Loren Coleman is the, uh, guy, who is, like, on expedition in Florida. And, um, even though I personally don’t, uh, believe that dinosaurs are, like, um, living in Florida, um, some people have seen, like, something that made them think of a dino, dude. So guys like, you know, Loren, like, you know, cryptozoologists, they, like, go look for whatever it was that the, um, people, like, saw.


  6. Richard888 responds:

    Stories of cryptids from Florida make me feel as uncomfortable as reports of thunderbirds from Texas because I imagine both States as having limited wilderness. At least Bigfoot has IQ on its side so its ability to trick humans can account for the rarity of sightings in the same limited wilderness.

  7. SOCALcryptid responds:

    Like um dude kittenz, good like job with that like last um comment. I could not have said it any like better. (LOL)

  8. maslo63 responds:

    Keep Cryptomundo serious? Yeah because mermaids, chupacabra, thunderbirds, land locked plesiosaurs, Mongolian death worms and mothman are all so much more feasible then a living dinosaur. I’m not trying to bash cyptozoology but I think you need to see just how ridiculous your comment really is when you consider what it is that Cryptomundo deals with. Besides if you read the other Pinky threads pretty much everyone agrees that Pinky is likely some sort of aquatic mammal, bird, reptile or other more plausible animal. Whatever it is there is no denying that people saw something. And those people say it looked like a dinosaur. Cyptozoologists investigate these sightings no matter how realistic or how silly they may be. Honestly no one needs to justify what Loren posts about anyway. The web site is his to do with what he pleases.

  9. Artist responds:

    Beautiful, kittenz – just perfect!!!

  10. Ouroborus Jay responds:

    Sue rocks!

  11. Maine Crypto responds:

    Dinosaur world is awesome! I haven’t been there since I was a kid, I am glad to hear that it is still up and running. Too bad that the people running it haven’t invested themselves in the local lore. Keep up the great work!

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