Lake George amusement park OK to add dinosaur attractions

From left, Ruben Ellsworth, John Collins and Jack Gillette announce new plans for Magic Forest amusement park in Lake George during a press conference on Dec. 4, 2018, in the park’s parking lot. Ellsworth is buying the park from Gillette. (Photo — Don Lehman, the Post-Star)

LAKE GEORGE — Dino Roar Valley has gotten the go-ahead from the town of Lake George.

The Planning Board on Tuesday approved changes at Magic Forest Amusement Park to add a series of new dinosaur-themed attractions to the iconic children’s park on Route 9. The park, to be renamed Lake George Expedition Park, will feature many of Magic Forest’s rides and features, with the addition of the new dinosaur attractions dubbed “Dino Roar Valley.”

The changes come after longtime Magic Forest owner Jack Gillette sold the park to local developer-contractor Ruben Ellsworth, who had been seeking a site for a dinosaur-themed children’s park.

Ellsworth does not plan to use many of the animal statues that were in place around the park, most of which were auctioned off before the property sale.

John Collins, former general manager of The Great Escape amusement park, will serve as chief operating officer and general manager of the new park.

“We are very excited to have reached this next level of approval in the process of bringing Dino Roar Valley to life,” Collins said in a news release.

Organizers released details of their plans this week, including a map of the new attractions to be built at the 46-acre park, such as a “fossil dig site,” an educational center, a “dinosaur nest,” dinosaur-themed displays, a workshop area and special events space.

Visitors will enter through the “Dino Roar Valley base camp,” where they will be briefed on their expedition’s mission. When they approach the main gate into the park, they’ll be met by a roaring Dilophosaurus. Along a half-mile nature trail through a lush dinosaur forest, visitors will hear dinosaur roars, step into their tracks and find out what they eat. At Dino Roar Valley, explorers will be transported to a prehistoric time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Climbing into a dinosaur nest, digging for hidden fossils and standing next to a roaring replica of possibly the world’s largest dinosaur ever discovered, the Titanosaurus, will be part of the expedition.

Employees, called “expedition study guides,” will be using the state Department of Education’s “next-generation learning standards and state science learning standards” and will be available for kindergarten through fifth-grade visitors during school and group tours.

The park’s owners also released details this week about prices and ticket sales, with tickets to go on sale online through in March. The park will open in May, with a grand opening yet to be scheduled, and it will remain open into October.

Ticket prices will be as follows:

¯ Dino Roar Valley: $24.99 plus tax

¯ Magic Forest: $19.99 plus tax

¯ Combination tickets for both attractions: $35.00 + tax

¯ Discounted group rates available for school groups/camps of 20 or more

¯ Inquire about special VIP tickets, private tours and special workshops

¯ Children 2 years and under are free.