Animatronic Dinosaurs Snarl at Visitors to Okinawa’s Dino Park

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Dilophosaurus is among the many attractions at Dino Park in Okinawa, Japan. MATT BURKE/STARS AND STRIPES

“Jurassic Park” was supposed to have taken place on an island off the coast of Central America. But if author Michael Crichton had visited the forest of Yanbaru in northern Okinawa, he might have well set his classic thriller in Japan instead.

To the lay person, the forest is a near-perfect representation of prehistoric times, with exotic plants and animals, ancient trees that bubble out of the ground like rising dough to blot out the sun, thick hanging vines and the smell of millennia of plant decomposition.

Thankfully, some enterprising individual shared Crichton’s vision when staring out into this lush sea of green that is Yanbaru and brought us Dino Park.

Dino Park is a fun family experience for those living on Okinawa, especially for those with children captivated by the now extinct reptiles. It is a surprisingly large operation that features animatronic dinosaurs, big and small, set against Yanbaru’s primordial wilds. The park also offers stunning views of more than a dozen flower varieties that bloom in various seasons.