While local kids benefit from having a dinosaur theme park right in Secaucus, older kids are benefitting as well from the jobs the park brings – and the township benefits when the theme park gets involved in local efforts in order to be a good neighbor.
The privately run Field Station: Dinosaurs park arrived in Secaucus two years ago. Since then, it’s worked with the town in a variety of ways.
Crystal Hermida, 16, and Berzette Mitchell, 18, benefit from the jobs the park provides. Hermida, who lives in northern Secaucus, is back working at the theme park for a second year because she said it is a “good job.”
“It’s nice,” Hermida said. “You get to see different people every day. And the workers here are very friendly.”
Mitchell of the Harmon Cove section said not only is it a nice place to work, but she gets educated there too.
“I think it’s absolutely a learning experience,” she said. “It’s one of my first real jobs. It’s good for my future.”
Mitchell is off to Bloomfield College to major in nursing in the fall.
“They’ve always been good supporters of the community.” – Mayor Michael Gonnelli
Set against the natural backdrop of the New Jersey Meadowlands and nestled at the base of a 150-million-year-old rock formation, Field Station contains 20 acres of woods, pathways, and mountain trails.
More than 30 life-sized, realistic dinosaurs come to life thanks to the engineering of some of the world's leading roboticists and the imagination of park artists.
New this year is Dinosaurs Alive!, a 3D movie that takes visitors to the deserts of Mongolia and New Mexico on an expedition of discovery. The movie beckons visitors to find fossils and uncover “scientifically accurate computer-generated dinosaurs” as they come to life on the big screen.
Hurricane Sandy relief
Guy Gsell, Field Station creator, president, and executive producer, said the park takes great care in being a good neighbor in Secaucus.
The theme park was instrumental in helping the town recover from Hurricane Sandy last fall. When the storm struck, and knocked out power, Field Station lent the town one of its generators.
“We went another day without dinosaurs, but people come before dinosaurs,” Gsell said. “Every customer who came said that it was the right thing to do.”
The good working relationship between the park and town was also exhibited last month when Field Station held “Secaucus Day.” Residents received a discount to enter the park, and dozens took advantage.
“We want people from the town to come out at the best possible price,” said Gsell. “It says that we are there to be friends with them. It’s that whole good-neighbor policy.”
Mayor Michael Gonnelli thought highly of the special day, and applauded the discount offered.
“It makes it more affordable for local families to be able to go,” he said.
Parking funds improvements
The park also helps the town by collecting an environmental parking fee, the proceeds of which go to fund improvements in Laurel Hill Park, in which Field Station is housed, and other green initiatives in Secaucus.
“I’m hoping more people continue to go,” Gonnelli said, adding that each time a patron walks through the park gates, the town also benefits.
The mayor also agreed with Gsell’s “good-neighbor” assessment.
“They’ve always been good supporters of the community,” he said.
“We’re not there as carpetbaggers; we’re there as part of the community,” Gsell said.
How to go
Online and by telephone ticket prices are $23 for adults and $20.50 for kids (12 & under) and seniors. (They must be bought at least one day in advance). Tickets at the box office are $28 for adults and $23 for kids (12 & under) and seniors. Children two years old and under are admitted free.
For more information about the park, visit www.fieldstationdinosaurs.com or call (855) 999-9010.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.