Being stuck in London whilst on lockdown due to Covid-19 has forced me to explore more of my local area whilst getting my daily exercise. Because of this, I have found there are places I can walk to from my flat which I never thought possible. It’s been pretty fun to open up Google Maps, find somewhere that looks interesting and then set aside a day to walk there and explore. One such day I walked to the Isobella Plantation in Richmond Park only to find it was closed when I got there. This time I decided to head to Crystal Palace Park with one curiosity I had discovered in mind, the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs.
The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs are doramas consisting of 15 statues of both dinosaurs and other extinct animals. They are the oldest dinosaur statues in the world, built-in 1851and have now been given grade 1 listed status. The various sculptures are centred around a lake inside the park and it’s free for visitors to go and admire them, they’ve been a hit since they were first installed.
Due to their age, they often don’t represent what we now belive some of these creatures to have looked like, but this discrepancy just makes them all the more intriguing! It’s a great look into a scientific view from another time. New information boards have been placed around the lake explaining the difference between what we looked like then and what we believe they look like now with new scientific context, which really helps put it into perspective.
The Crystal Palace dinosaurs make for a beautiful and very peaceful walk, situated around the lakes and surrounded by trees. With the current state of the world, it’s a great place to escape to and see something really unique. If you are in the area there is plenty more to see and do in Crystal Palace Park, there is a skate park, an urban farm and the Crystal Palace museum (both currently closed due to Corona Virus), a maze, boating lakes and some remnants of the original spectacular Crystal Place that sadly burnt to the ground in a fire in the 1930s to name just a few. For more information on the park check out the Crystal Palace Park Website or for more information specifically on the Dinosaurs check out the Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs website which contains a wealth of information about the statues history and the current conservation efforts.
Did you know these historic statues existed?