MAY 2005

by Ham and Kelly

In May of 2005 we decided to take a day trip to go explore Cooperstown, NY (which will most likely be made into a page as well). We did a little research and found out that the Petrified Creatures Museum in Richfield Springs was very close by. So, of course, we had to pay this place a visit and find out exactly what it was. While driving along on Route 20 in Richfield Springs we went right past the museum at first. The sign in the picture above appears large but it really isn't very big, and it's quite easy to miss. The actual museum itself is quite easy to miss as well, as it looks like a regular house from the front. If it wasn't for the wooden sign near the road and a wooden dinosaur hiding in a bush (and the circa early 80s Coke machine by the door!), you would never know what greatness was waiting behind this house.

Kelly and I were soon to find out that we were the only people enjoying the museum on this fine day, which we thought was great. That meant that we would be able to take as many pictures as we wanted without other people getting in the way. Anyway, we walked in to find an incredible gift shop with many absurd things hanging from the walls, as well as many little odd things for sale. Also, I remember some weird but strangely appropriate music being played in the gift shop (maybe Barry Manilow?... not sure). It was Barry Manilow's "Mandy," to be exact!

After we got done enjoying the gift shop, we paid the only person working at the museum our $12 (I think that's how much it was) and went thru a screen door into the museum (which was actually the backyard of this house). Holy Jurassic! Ours eyes were greeted with so many different images I didn't know what to look at first. There were huge, colorful (more on this later) dinosaurs at various spots all over the yard. There was a wall with various "petrified creatures" (so, it wasn't just a clever name), ranging from insects to the things in the following photos:

Everything in the museum seemed to be trying to teach you something. The odd things on the wall had their origins mapped out and signs explaining everything about that particular item. Each (papier mache?!) dinosaur had a little mailbox (yes, a mailbox) next to it, where you could press a button and hear the dinosaur state some fun facts about itself. I wish we had recorded some of these, but I remember they went something like this - "I'm Tyrone the T-Rex. I'm a meat eater so little creatures better stay out of my way." Nothing in this museum seems to have been cleaned or updated since the Carter administration, including these mailboxes. In the pictures below you can see the Iguanodon with it's mailbox and the back of the heavily damaged Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Of the next pictures, in the first I was frightened by the giant T-Rex (our likenesses have been obliterated by fake leaves for our protection). Somehow I didn't notice the Stegosaurus coming up from my left hand side. In the second picture, Kelly was hanging out with the injured Brontosaurus. If you look carefully between the front and back legs you'll see a baby Bront in the back. It was so cute! I loved that thing! On a side note - when I was eleven I visited the Museum of Natural History in NYC. I do not recall learning that dinosaurs were such brilliant colors. Being aquamarine, fuchsia, pale pink and vivid tangerine must have made hiding in the brush somewhat difficult. Is this what brought about their eventual extinction? A probing question.

When we bought our tickets, the woman (who was the only person working in the entire museum) asked if we wanted shovels and pails. This is not a question we were prepared for. It turns out that there is an area of the museum where one can "dig for treasure". They make a huge deal out of this, leading you to believe it's a virtual diamond mine. It was basically a small dirt patch which had a bunch of pebbles in it. Here is the area's warning sign along with the fabulous "treasure pit".

The Petrified Creatures Museum was yet another incredibly absurd adventure. I would recommend this museum to anyone who enjoys large (papier mache) dinosaurs (in problematic colors) and jars containing squid.

(Posted 11/2006)