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Lake George offers up dino roars and splash battles

Summer on Lake George

Lake George offers up dino roars and splash battles

Dino Roar Valley is the newest addition to the local amusement park scene
Lake George offers up dino roars and splash battles
12-year-old Bryce Fifield of South Glens Falls walks through Dino Roar Valley at the Lake George Expedition Park, June 2, 2019.
Photographer: Erica Miller

Those looking to live out their “Jurassic Park” nightmares can look no further than Lake George. 

Dino Roar Valley lives up to its name, with sounds from Spinosaurus, Ankylosaurus and others echoing throughout the park. 
It’s part of the Lake George Expedition Park, the newest addition to the local amusement park scene. It combines Magic Forest, a whimsical park complete with classic rides and fantastical statues, and Dino Roar Valley. The latter offers up a trek through a forest filled with animatronic dinos. 

Some swish their tails, others snap their jaws as visitors walk by. There are 20 dinosaurs in the park from a range of eras, none of which are fenced in so visitors can walk right up to them. One of the largest in the park, coming in at 38 feet long, is the Titanosaurus.

The animatronic creature towers over everyone in the park and even its tail swishes far overhead. 

ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER  
Allison Lashway, 16-years-old of Hudson Falls, demonstrates how to dust dinosaur bones at the Paleontologist Workshop at Dino Roar Valley, at the Lake George Expedition Park, in Lake George on Saturday, June 2, 2019.ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
16-year-old Allison Lashway, of Hudson Falls, demonstrates how to dust dinosaur bones at the Paleontologist Workshop at Dino Roar Valley, at the Lake George Expedition Park, in Lake George on Saturday, June 2, 2019.

Most of the dinosaurs are set either along the edge of the paved trail or a bit further back into the wooded area. Dinos like the Tyrannosaurus and Stegosaurus can be seen facing off, posing for a fight, while a few Coelophysis are gathered nearby. 

Each dino is accompanied by a panel of fast facts, like “Argentinosaurus and other titanosaurs were so heavy that their footsteps could turn the ground beneath their feet into quicksand,” or “Baryonyx lived in areas with lakes and rivers that would have allowed it to fish.” Each panel also has a timeline of when the dinosaurs lived and illustrations of the creatures. 

More: Your guide to summer on Lake George

According to General Manager John Collins, the goal was to make the park just as educational as it is entertaining. 

Along the winding path, which was once Magic Forest’s Safari, kids can step into the shoes of an archeologist, with a few dig sites. There are dinosaur bones hiding in each that kids use small shovels and brushes to search for, while parents can take a rest on the surrounding benches. Kids can also participate in Diggin’ Up Dinos and Fossil Fixers Build & Play workshops. For kids who need to be even more active, there’s a Dino Nest playground that kids can climb all over. 

ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER  
Brothers Lucas, 6-years-old (right), and Jacob Coseglia, 8-years-old of Ballston Spa, dust for dinosaur bones at the Paleontologist Workshop at Dino Roar Valley, at the Lake George Expedition Park, in Lake George on Saturday, June 2, 2019.ERICA MILLER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER
Brothers Lucas, 6, (right), and Jacob Coseglia, 8, of Ballston Spa, dust for dinosaur bones at the Paleontologist Workshop at Dino Roar Valley, at the Lake George Expedition Park, in Lake George on Saturday, June 2, 2019.

The dinos may be the shiny, not to mention spikey, additions to the park, Magic Forest is still holding its own. Founded in 1963, the park combined whimsical statues with rides and shows like “Lightning the Diving Horse.” While some of the statues are gone—including the 38-foot tall Uncle Sam—many remain. Lightning will no longer be diving, however, Collins promised to unveil a new show at some point during the summer, featuring an Olympic diver. 

While in years past, Magic Forest catered mostly to a crowd ages 10 and under, Collins said he thinks Dino Roar Valley will bring in older kids as well. Tickets for Dino Roar Valley are $24.99 at the box office, $21.99 online. Tickets for Magic Forest are $19.99 at the box office, $17.99 online and the 2-park combination tickets are $35. For more information visit lakegeorgeexpeditionpark.com

The Great Escape

Just down the road, Six Flags Great Escape Resort has gone through a transformation of its own, with an expanded water park. 
As you take the Sky Ride, there’s more to look at this summer, with the addition of Hurricane Harbor. The new 14,000 square foot play area includes two new attractions and ways to stay cool even at the height of the season. 

LAKE GEORGE (SUMMER BIG EDITION 2019)Six Flags Great Escape's Hurricane Harbor.

Families and friends can start splashing battles on the Bucket Blasters, a ride that spins people around in water barrels equipped with water blasters. Shipwreck Cove, another new part of the park, doesn’t encourage splash battles, but it does give families a chance to explore, especially with young kids. The Cove is dotted with interactive water sprays, geysers and fountains. 

For longtime fans of the park, there are still the old faithful rides, like the Steamin’ Demon, the Dare Devil Dive or the Sasquatch. There’s also a new cafe when they inevitably get hungry, though you might want to visit it after rather than before they’ve gone on the Comet or any of the park’s other roller coasters. 

Single day tickets start at $64.99 for adults and season passes start at $72.99. For more information visit sixflags.com.  

Burnt Hills boy lands summer gig as a junior paleontologist

Capital Region residents might see a familiar face at Dino Roar Valley. Throughout the summer Simon Trbovich, a 10-year-old from Burnt Hills, will be working at the park as a junior paleontologist. 

The fourth-grader at Charlton Heights Elementary was selected for the position earlier this year after the Expedition Park put out an open call to kids in the area to apply.  

Simon, decked out in a safari hat and vest, is featured in the park’s introductory video, screened at Dino Roar Valley Basecamp. He explains what people can expect during their tour and cautions visitors not to feed the dinos. Simon will also be at the park greeting visitors throughout the summer.  

We took a few minutes to ask him about being in the new role and about his dino knowledge.  

Q: How did you become a Junior Paleontologist?
A: I saw a poster at my hair cut place and I submitted a 60-second video showcasing my knowledge. I know a lot of dino facts. When I found out I was the winner, I was jumping up and down in my mom’s car. 

Q: What’s your favorite dino fact?
A: A T. rex was [as] long [as] a school bus. 

Q: Since you got the job, have you learned more about dinosaurs? 
A: I studied a little bit more when I found out I got the job. 

Q: What’s your favorite dinosaur here?
A: Well, the hadrosaurus is pretty great but I’d say T. rex is [my] number one favorite.  

Q: Are the dinosaurs pretty realistic?
A: Yeah, well I thought they were going to be a lot smaller than this. 

Q: Do you think kids will be scared of the dinos?
A: It depends on how brave they are. 

Q: Do any of these dinosaurs scare you?
A: From surprise, yes. 

More: Your guide to summer on Lake George

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