July 19, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Derby dinosaur park attendance much lower than STAR bond target

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After two full summers of being in business, the Derby dinosaur park is attracting roughly 45,000 visitors annually according to Garion Masterson, the newly appointed Director of Production and Marketing.

“Attendance is hovering around 45,000 a year,” says Masterson.

However, as the center attraction of Derby’s STAR Bond district, 45,000 is far below the 112,000 annual visitors in the feasibility study prepared by Canyon Research Southwest that enticed the Derby City Council to back the $20 million STAR bond in 2015.

In 2015, Derby residents felt the numbers in the feasibility study did not add up. According to the Derby Informer, retired CPA Robert Winn noted much of the data in the Derby feasibility study was unsourced. The lack of transparency in feasibility studies is a common criticism of STAR Bonds.

Masterson says the Derby dinosaur park, called Field Station: Dinosaurs, is actively working to address concerns from public feedback. That includes rolling attractions into a single ticket price, instead of some attraction having al carte pricing in addition to the entrance price, which is a change from when the attraction opened. “Everything is included in the day pass,” says Masterson.

Tickets are $16.95 for adults and $13.95 for kids 2-11. A family of four of two adults and two kids is more than $61.

Masterson claims the Derby dinosaur park is attracting a lot of out-of-town visitors.

“We’ve seen from all the state around us, and they came here just for us,” says Masterson. “We have zip codes and numbers to back that up.”

But Masterson and the park declined our request to verify the claim with data.

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