A huge Jurassic style theme park, which contains 160 dinosaurs, some of which are animated, standing up to 10 metres tall and ranging between 2.5 and 22 metres long, has finally opened in Queensland.
Palmersaurus, is the brainchild of the Australian millionaire Clive Palmer, and he admitted that he did not know the exact amount the park cost to make, claiming that it was his wife who held the purse strings: “Only my wife counts the money, I just count the experience,” he said. “I’d say we spent enough money, but there are still some sleepy dinosaurs there that should be in a much better condition next week.”
Mr Palmer made his millions in the mining industry and Forbes magazine estimated him to be worth $795 million (£511m) in 2012, but he has recently diversified into the entertainment business, and has several other ventures in the pipeline, including the Palmer Motorama, which houses his personal collection of vintage cars, and is open to the paying public.
The theme park is located around 50 miles north of Brisbane, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, and admission costs AUS$100 (£55) for a family of four. Mr Palmer compares this to other well known theme parks and says that in his opinion, it is good value for money: “It’s a lot cheaper than going to Disneyland. If you went to Disneyland in France or Japan, you wouldn’t find a dinosaur park bigger than this.”
He also stressed that his park reminds his visitors of the importance of conservation. “What we don’t want to see is our world end up like the dinosaurs did,” he added. “We’ve got to take better care of the environment and have a positive message for people. We’ve got to make sure we all learn from the lesson of the dinosaurs, we all learn that Australia can be a better place if we look after the environment.”
Not everyone has shared Mr Palmer’s enthusiasm for the theme park however, as for some people, Palmersaurus, hasn’t lived up to its expectations. Part of the problem appears to be that the park is located within the grounds of the luxurious Palmer Coolum Resort, and as such, paying guests of the luxe resort now have to live alongside the animated dinosaurs. In fact, some of the dinosaurs are literally only metres away from the guest accommodations and separated only by a wire fence, complete with sound effects at the touch of a button.
Another problem is that the park is in full view of the esteemed golf course, which typically holds some of the world’s most major events. And it is this that has caused the boss of Australian PGA championship Brian Thorburn to pull out of hosting the prestigious tournament at Palmer’s Resort. And Sunshine Coast councillor Russell Green was not happy about the decision, saying: “It’s almost turning into a scene out of (comedy film) Happy Gilmore, where you putt down the fairway, you bounce the ball off T-Rex’s left leg and get it into the 18th hole – it’s quite bizarre.”
It appears that the golfing general public are equally angry about the location of the park, with comments such as: “Absolute disgrace. This makes Aussie World look like a class establishment. Now you know why the PGA pulled The Open from Coolum. They weren’t going to subject world-class golfers to this kind of ridiculous folly. And you morons elected him to run the country? Words fail me at this point” and “The major PGA golf event has been lost and the hundreds of people who flocked to Coolum is a thing of the past. The course is now downgraded to a second rate course. The resort is dying a natural death and will probably never recover,” being fairly typical of the responses.
It remains to be seen whether the park itself will prove to be a success.