The check-clearing department at the old American Savings Bank headquarters on Broad Street in Bloomfield was never quite this interesting. It now houses Field Station Dinosaurs, an audacious project by Bloomfield resident Guy Gsell to open a dinosaur theme park in Secaucus in May 2012.
When we talked to Gsell last spring, his plan — which will feature 24 full-size animatronic dinosaurs — was pretty speculative. But earlier this month, the Hudson County Freeholders granted Gsell a lease for tourism and educational purposes to set up his theme park on land adjacent to Laurel Hill Park. And on Monday, the first dinosaur was actually delivered to Broad Street — not one of the animatronic monsters, but a 9-foot-tall, 90 pound dinosaur puppet created by an Australian puppeteer, who also showed up to train Gsell and his crew how to operate it.
Gsell will start selling group tickets to the theme park at New Jersey Teachers Convention in Atlantic City, and he has a pop-up store at The Holiday Shops at Bryant Parkin New York City, where the giant puppet will make an appearance.
It is not every day that a Bloomfield business takes possession of a 90-lb dinosaur puppet, but then nothing in Gsell’s business is ordinary. Gsell, who is going to be a contestant on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”, said he was asked, “What’s the strangest thing you ever did for money?” He told them about his dinosaur park and said, “It’s the strangest thing anybody ever did for money.”
Speaking of strange things — and prehistoric themes — Dr. Oz recently filmed an episode at the Turtle Back Zoo, “Dr. Oz’s Most Extreme Experiment Ever: Could a Prehistoric Diet Save Your Life?”, which airs Friday night.
Meanwhile, here’s Gsell giving a tour of his dinosaur park property to Hudson county officials back in September.