By Nelson Groom
Hidden deep in the woodlands of a sleepy American town lies a place where dinosaurs still dwell.
‘Dinosaur World’ was once the world’s largest prehistoric-themed amusement park, but now the reptiles that once thrilled guests within its grounds have been left to rot.
Haunting snapshots show how the abandoned 65-acre site in Beaver, Arkansas, has taken on a post-apocalyptic air as the giant statues gather dust.
The park has housed hundreds of prehistoric creatures since opening doors in the 1960’s, but when urban explorer Dax Ward snuck into the grounds he discovered native wildlife has now taken up residence among them.
Dax, 37, said: “I’ve shot 40 abandoned sites between Thailand, South Africa, and the US, and this was one of the most scenic ones yet.
“It’s deep in the middle of the lush Ozark Mountains of Northwestern Arkansas with a big beautiful creek running through the middle.
“It all adds to the authenticity as a realistic habitat for dinosaurs.
“I was the only person in the area. I just roamed around imagining what the park was like in its heyday.”
An overturned 12 metre king kong statue, hulking brontosaurus and glowing green tyrannosaurus rex are among the most memorable of the 100-odd sculptures standing within the park’s walls.
Dax said birds, beavers and deers were among the new inhabitants he spotted – and coyotes are known to stalk the area after nightfall.
Dinosaur World shut up shop in 2005 after a fire suspected to be the work of an arsonist destroyed its main building.
Dax, who hails from Arkansas but now lives in Thailand, was tight-lipped about how he gained access to the forsaken site.
Dax said: “I’d prefer not to discuss how I gained access, however I will say that entry is very restricted, and that there are overseers nearby.
“The sit is looked after. The landscape is generally well kept, with the grass appearing to have been cut save for the overgrown shrubbery around the dinosaurs.
“As always, I want to photograph these sites as they are; I never damage property in any way, as I have want them to remain intact long as possible.
“I love urban exploring over the world but doing so in the area where I grew up is all the more special.”