- Associated Press - Sunday, April 16, 2017

MOUNT STERLING, Ohio (AP) - When Bill Green was 10, his summer highlight was the month spent at his grandparents’ retirement home in Marblehead, fishing along Lake Erie, playing cards and, occasionally, visiting an odd amusement park down the road.

Prehistoric Forest and Mystery Hill park had quirky scientific themes, such as a working volcano and water running uphill. But it was the 10 acres of woods scattered with life-size dinosaurs that would grab the attention of young Green. The monsters rotated and growled. For a kid from London, Ohio, it was fascinating.

“It was kind of goofy, silly. But it was a lot of fun,” recalled Green, now 48 and owner of a farm-equipment business along Interstate 71 in Madison County.

Along with the memories, he also has souvenirs - large ones.

His Green and Sons equipment lot at the southern edge of the county is filled with tractors and mowers and equipment that only a farmer would understand. But scattered throughout are Tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops and a towering brontosaurus.

“We get tons of people who come in, and we tell them where (the dinosaurs) came from, and they say, ‘Hey, we went there when we were little.’ “

The park opened in 1953. Denise and Len Tieman bought it in 1995 and ran it until retiring in 2010.

Green learned about the dinosaur sale through an online auction in 2015. He bought about a third of the 27 models available, spending several thousand dollars.

Len Tieman had sculpted the behemoths from foam and covered them with fiberglass and paint, a process that took weeks for the largest creatures.

Contacted at their home, which is on the park property, where the mountain volcano is the only relic, Denise Tieman said the couple enjoyed “getting to know so many families from Columbus and all over the world.”

The dinosaurs, some of which appeared in the 1995 movie “Tommy Boy,” are “staying alive there in Columbus,” said Len Tieman. “They’re memories for other people. They’re starting their own adventure.”

Some are on display this month at Lorain County Metro Parks. Others are in people’s backyards.

Along Interstate 71 in Madison County, the 40-foot-long brontosaurus sticks out, its gangly neck similar in structure to the business’s display of grain augers.

“It brings all sorts,” said Jamie Houser, a mechanic for Green. “We’ve gotten people who come in just to see them.”

Green mixes nostalgia and prehistoric fascination into his advertising budget.

“I spend thousands of dollars on advertising. And not all of it gets noticed … These were cool and funny,” he said. “We thought people would talk about them.”

“Stone-age pricing” and “Dino-deals” are obvious themes.

But mainly, it’s the kids who drag their parents along.

“We’ve got some 3- and 4-year-olds, and they’ll come in and know all the names,” said Green.

John Adams, a farmer from St. Paris in Champaign County who also sells equipment to Green, recently brought in his 6-year-old son.

“He thought they were pretty cool,” Adams said. “He wanted pictures with them.”

How long they survive here depends on their upkeep, Green said.

The mouth of the sharp-fanged T. rex is the perfect nest for birds, which leave debris and stains.

The mastodon broke its left shoulder and lost a tusk in a windstorm. The brontosaurus lost the tip of its tail.

The attention has brought offers, and not just for farm equipment.

“We’ve had people get upset because we’re not selling,” Green said.





Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, https://www.dispatch.com

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