ABC News’ Paula Faris and Claire Pedersen report:
Just across the river from New York City, past the New Jersey Turnpike, dinosaurs are lurking in the brush.
Field Station: Dinosaurs is a 20-acre, rip-roaring dinosaur park that opened over the weekend in Secaucus, N.J. This Jurassic Park come to life features over 30 life-size animatronic dinosaurs that gnash their terrifying teeth, emit loud roars, and even appear to breathe.
As visitors wander through the park, monstrous dinosaurs tower over them. A year and half in the making, this has been park founder and executive producer Guy Gsell’s childhood dream.
“We’ve taken over control of their brain and we’ve made them a lot smarter, so they follow your motion and they sense when the crowd gets big,” Gsell said.
While Tony Soprano’s stomping grounds might not seem like a dinosaur’s natural habitat, New Jersey once was home to many dig sites. The first complete dinosaur skeleton was discovered there in the 1860s.
“This is the typical New Jersey family, circa 65 million years ago,” Gsell said, gesturing to a animatronic hydrosaurus.
Gsell poured his own money into the park. He wouldn’t reveal how much the dinosaurs cost, but would only admit that they were expensive.
“I have maxed out every credit card, I have sold every asset that I have, everything except my kid’s college fund, I put into the park,” he said.
The dinosaurs were designed by a Chinese company, and then shipped across the world in crates. The park itself also tries to recreate what would have been the dinosaur’s natural habitat — a large, densely-wooded area with a footpath for visitors. You just have to block out the New Jersey turnpike in the distance.
Gsell said he wants the Field Station: Dinosaurs to be a fun learning experience for kids.
“We are really hoping kids learn some stuff, that they learn how exciting science can be and become scientists,” he said. “Maybe not professional scientists, but the spirit of inquiry and solving mysteries and exploring the world.”