CLEARFIELD – A new attraction is coming to the Depot at Doolittle’s in DuBois and it promises to be a big feature for the area.
Dr. Jeffrey Rice, owner, gave a presentation to the Clearfield County Recreation and Tourism Authority board at Wednesday’s meeting as part of a grant application.
He explained that he intends to construct a 4,000 square foot building on his property to house a dinosaur museum/exhibition attraction, the Dinosaur Experience.
Rice said there are traveling exhibitions like this, but to his knowledge only two permanent ones, one of which is located in Florida.
He said he already has a somewhat famous T-Rex at Doolittle’s. It was photographed pulling an Amish buggy and that picture went viral and was named “photo of the day” on one Web site.
In fact, the makers of Super Mario Odyssey obtained permission from Rice to use footage of the T-Rex for promoting their game, and he said you can see it at minute three of the promotional video, Super Mario Odyssey: Journey to Launch.
There will be a few fiberglass dinosaurs outside, but the main attraction will be indoors, beginning with two dinosaurs at the entrance when visitors first walk in, and then several life-like scenes.
Rice said there will also be animatronic dinosaurs and had video showing the machines in action. The animals and scenes are based on current paleontology research.
Rice said he wants it to be an attraction for the entire family to enjoy, a reason to get out and visit not only Doolittle’s, but also other attractions around the county, such as viewing elk, visiting Bilger’s Rocks or Curwensville Lake, and other activities and getting kids away from video screens all the time.
The Dinosaur Experience is currently under construction, with the dinosaurs in transit somewhere on the Pacific Ocean. Rice said he hopes to be open in July.
The cost of the project is about $150,000. Everything at Doolittle’s is non-profit, Rice explained, and family-friendly. He added that he also works to keep his restaurant prices low so that senior citizens and large families can afford a time out together.
Doolittle’s currently has several items of interest. There are attractions for diners, train enthusiasts, fans of Barnum and Bailey Circus, miniature golf players and more.
Later in the meeting the board voted to award Doolittle’s a $25,000 Tourism Destination Plan grant.
Board members expressed hope that, with the popularity of dinosaurs with not only children but many adults as well, this could become a destination not only for the region but for visitors from across Pennsylvania and neighboring states as well.