GONE EXTINCT: Inside the Abandoned Petrified Creatures in Richfield Springs
WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.
It was our friendly neighborhood dinosaur museum. And now it's extinct.
Growing up in Richfield Springs, Petrified Creatures was a place you were proud of. It was cheesy, but charming. Not many towns in Central New York can claim to have their very own dinosaur museum. Well, "museum" might be somewhat of an overstatement. Not sure how informative it really was. It was a kitschy roadside attraction from a bygone era, akin to something you might see along the deserted Route 66. Only this was along Route 20, and just a short drive from town.
My childhood memories of Petrified Creatures are as follows: You entered through a dimly-lit gift shop and greeted by a chain-smoking man whose dinosaur knowledge was questionable, at best. The gift shop had various trinkets, like keychains, finger puppets and "fossils" that you could buy. You then proceeded to the back yard, where the dinosaurs were.
They were lumpy, awkward-looking, shoddily constructed, and brightly colored... and they were magnificent. Even the brontosaurus, who had to have his neck propped up with a crutch like Tiny Tim, was amazing to my 7-year-old eyes.
Each dinosaur had a mailbox on a post in front of it. When the mailbox was opened, it would activate a soundbyte that gave you information on the dinosaur.
"Hi, I'm a stegosaurus. I eat plants." Or something to that effect.
And why were they painted such unrealistic colors? Someone I grew up with knew the man who supposedly worked on the dinosaurs. At some point he was asked that very question. To which he famously replied:
"I don't know, I've never seen a dinosaur. I don't know what $!*#% color they are!"
Petrified Creatures closed some time in 2016. For years after, you used to be able to see those bright-colored lumps beyond the fence when you drove past. But at some point, you couldn't see those colors anymore. And so all we have left is the memories.
Check out the gallery below to see what Petrified Creatures looks like today.