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Zoomars Petting Zoo owner Carolyn Franks with the apatosaurus replica she purchased and installed in June. Photo by Brian Park
Zoomars Petting Zoo owner Carolyn Franks with the apatosaurus replica she purchased and installed in June. Photo by Brian Park

By Brian Park

Historic Los Rios District just got a little prehistoric with the addition of a replica dinosaur at Zoomars Petting Zoo.

Owner Carolyn Franks bought the 40-foot-long, 13-foot-high Apatosaurus at an auction. The purchase was made on a whim, after Franks had a chance encounter with a paleontologist who knew of the sale.

“It’s kind of funny because it was rejected from a dinosaur park, so he’s kind of a rescue,” said Franks, who had the dinosaur moved to her petting zoo this week to be featured as a “paleo/archeo- activity.”

“We already have an activity where kids can pan for gold and fossils, and this is just an extension of that,” Franks said.

But less than 24 hours since the dinosaur was installed on the site, Franks received a stop-work order from the city to halt installation of the “unpermitted brontosaurus” (the former name of the species).

Franks will meet with city staff today to discuss the matter.

“I wouldn’t do anything to disrespect the area,” said Franks, who became the owner of the former Jones Mini-Farm seven years ago. She said that she had a conditional-use permit for a play area, and since nearby Los Rios Park has a playground, she wanted to replace Zoomars’ with a fun and educational activity for children.

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