Fire destroys gift shop/restaurant at Dinosaur World

Thursday, August 4, 2011
Photo by Robert Norman

A fire engulfed the gift shop/restaurant at Dinosaur World on U.S. Hwy. 187, west of Eureka Springs, Wednesday night. Fire crews from Inspiration Point Volunteer Fire Department were toned out at about 8:45 p.m., with Grassy Knob and Holiday Island fire departments providing mutual aid.

The building was destroyed, but the fire was contained to the immediate area, with crews remaining on scene all night to douse flare-ups.

Dinosaur World, a 65-acre theme park, was started in the 1960s by Ola Farwell, who built the King Kong statue. Dinosaur statues were sculpted by Emmett Sullivan, who also sculpted the Christ of the Ozarks statue at the Great Passion Play.

Photo by Robert Norman

Dinosaur World was closed in 2005.

Photo by Richard Carlsen
Photo by Crystal Ursin
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  • I have photos of the interior of this building taken while my dad's cousin, Orvis Parker, and his wife Mary worked there when it was called Farwell's Dinosaur Park if anyone is interested. I also have photos of the park while it was first being built.

    -- Posted by Gunnels on Tue, Jan 3, 2012, at 12:58 PM
  • My husband did some research back in 1999-ish and would love to get copies of those pictures and any other information you have. He had interviewed J. O. Parker and his involvement in the building of Farwell's Dinosaur Park and will gladly send you a copy of the paper he wrote. You can contact us at pbuchanan4@radford(dot)edu. Is Mr. Parker or his wife still alive? We have since moved to VA where my husband teaches at a small college. Thank you.

    -- Posted by pbuchanan4 on Sat, Feb 25, 2012, at 1:14 PM
  • I would definitely be interested in those pictures. My email is Danielledbratton@yahoo.com. My husband and I sort of trespassed and took a walk through this park on our honeymoon in 2007. We only looked around and left everything just as we found it. I have been sort of obsessed with this park ever since. I would be overjoyed to see those photos.

    -- Posted by dbratton87 on Sun, Mar 25, 2012, at 11:16 PM
  • If ANYone has pictures, brochures, etc., please send me copies (spencer.jones43@yahoo.com)! My grandfather, Ken Childs, owned the park in 1980 when I lived there with my brothers and sister, and my mother and stepfather ran the park. It was called "John Agar's Land of Kong" at the time. He was the one that had the first wooden King Kong erected by the side of the highway (with Ayatollah Kohmeini hanging in a noose) around 1979/1980, across from the park entrance. The statue came some time after his passing in 1984. This fire breaks my heart! However, if the park has been closed for a number of years I wouldn't be surprised if it was an insurance job or something.

    -- Posted by spencerjones43 on Wed, May 23, 2012, at 9:05 PM
  • What I mean is that Ken Childs had the original statue built as well, after the wooden one out front, but the statue wasn't finished until after his passing on June 30, 1984.

    -- Posted by spencerjones43 on Wed, May 23, 2012, at 9:40 PM
  • I would love to see any information or photographs anyone has of the park. I've been researching the stories behind the All the Arkansas Dinosaurs I can't get enough of this stuff!

    -- Posted by saheustis on Thu, Sep 26, 2013, at 10:46 AM
  • I am admin of a facebook page "John Agar's Land of Kong" if anyone is interested in it. You may post comments/photos, etc. there.

    -- Posted by spencerjones43 on Fri, Jun 20, 2014, at 8:44 PM
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