Work is expected to begin this month on the Dinosaur Park upgrades



The iconic park will be closed from October 1 to April 30

during a multi-phase renovation project

RAPID CITY, SD—Work is due to begin this month on the dinosaur park accessibility improvement project. The park will be closed to all public access from October 1st.

Demolition work will begin on September 20. The Dinosaur Park Visitor Center and Gift Shop will remain open until September 30, but the stairs will be inaccessible to visitors beginning September 20. Visitors are welcome to access the dinosaurs via a hiking trail north of the staircase until September. 30. Beginning October 1, the park will be closed to all public access until April 30, 2023. Rapid City Parks and Recreation officials say the park closure will not affect any other trails in the Skyline Wilderness Area. A limited number of parking spaces in Dinosaur Park will remain open for visitors wishing to access the Skyline Wilderness Trail system.

Officials say traffic control measures will be required along Skyline Drive when work is being done near Skyline Drive. Motorists are urged to drive with caution during the construction period and to be aware of traffic, road signs and flaggers in the affected area.

“This project has taken many years to prepare,” said Melissa Petersen, landscaper for city parks and recreation. “Anyone who has visited the park over the years realizes the access limitations and these improvements will only improve the visitor experience for generations to come.

“The improvements are considerable and we are trying to do a lot of the work during the visitor seasons. We know many people enjoy visiting the park year-round, but this closure will allow work to be carried out in the safest and most efficient manner. »

The multi-phase project is scheduled for completion in December 2023. The project will improve the dinosaur park with accessible walking routes, bring safety features up to code, and provide new and improved amenities for visitors, including site interpretation . The dinosaur park improvements were among the items approved in the 2019 Vision Fund allocations by the city council. The planned $3.5 million project is expected to be funded with $1.6 million from the Vision Fund and the remainder from the Rapid City Parks and Recreation Department’s Capital Improvement Project (CIP) fund and government facilities.

The park opened in 1936 and was built by city crews and the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The dinosaur sculptures were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. Over the years, maintenance and renovations have been carried out on the parking lot, some pedestrian accesses, the roadway and the dinosaurs.

Phase 1 construction schedule timeline:

  • 9/20/22: Phase 1 stair demolition begins, gift shop remains open, available parking is limited, stairs are closed to the public, trail access is available for those who want and can climb the hill
  • 01/10/22: Phase 1 continues, gift shop is closed for the season, parking available is limited, no public access to Dinosaur Hill
  • 05/01/23: Phase 1 continues, gift shop is open for the season, parking available is limited, trail access is available for those who want and can climb the hill
  • 05/26/23: Phase 1 to be completed, gift shop remains open, limited parking available, stair access to hill to be restored