Monty the T-Rex gets the party started
IIf you spend much time on Route 85 going through Chesterfield, you drive by Monty the T-Rex all the time. But you haven’t really thought about when his birthday is, have you? In general, you probably figure it was 75,000,000 years ago. Actually, he’s turning 8, and Nature’s Art is throwing a birthday celebration to honor him on Columbus Day weekend (Oct.11-13). Monty’s age coincides with how long the attraction has been at this location, so all the more reason for a party.
The Fall Festival/Montymania offers free events all weekend long that are designed to keep a family entertained, from fun birthday games to dinosaur tattoos to decorating birthday hats for Monty.
“The weekend is all about fun,” said Corrina Ferguson, a co-owner of Nature’s Art and director of marketing. “It’s ridiculously silly to have a birthday party for a 32-foot T-Rex.”
It’s a perfect time to make scarecrows, so there will be a scarecrowbuilding contest that is open to all. You can create all weekend long, and judging takes place on Monday and a prize awarded then.
“Of course, we’re hoping someone will build a dinosaur,” Ferguson said.
“It’s so much fun to see these birds up so close,” Ferguson said. “You don’t appreciate how big they are until you see them up close. The adaptations, such as those that ospreys have with their talons that allow them to pivot, are fascinating.”
These events are all free; if you want to participate in other features of Nature’s Art such as panning for gold or digging for gems, admission applies. The admission at this time of the year is a blanket $9 each for everyone from 2-59; over and under that are free. The attraction is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., but Ferguson said that the free events are generally taking place in the 11 a.m.-4 p.m. window.
While the staff at Nature’s Art would be delighted if you explore the entire facility, this is not a weekend about making the cash registers ring. Ferguson, who lives in the same town as her company, sees it as all about community.
“It’s so important for businesses to be part of their communities,” she said. “Monty’s party is something lighthearted that is our way of reaching out to the community. That’s something we all need these days.”
In addition to the activities going on outside, there will be presentations in the classrooms that will be interesting for all ages. You can learn about the Nature of the Seashore, where an expert will be on hand with touch tanks to get kids involved in learning about creatures up-close.
“Hands-on education is so important to us,” Ferguson said.
The expert will discuss creatures that are “living fossils,” such as the horseshoe crab, the sturgeon and dragonflies… creatures that have survived various extinction events (unlike Monty’s Cretaceous-period peers).
Also on hand, with links to the “living fossil” category, is Regal Reptiles, which will do a reptile presentation that ties in nicely with Monty’s theme, as reptiles and dinosaurs share an interesting connection. At last year’s party, an albino python that kids got to hold and pet was a big hit.
Another distant relative of the dinosaur, the bird, will get its due thanks to HorizonWings, a bird of prey rehabilitator that will talk about eagles and hawks and everything in between, as well as have some of the majestic birds on hand.
BIRDS OF PREY LIKE THESE FROM HORIZON WINGS WILL BE PART OF THE MONTYMANIA PROGRAM. PHOTOS COURTESY OF NATURE’S ART.