The Mystery of Dinny the Dinosaur

Calgary Zoo Bridge
The Buffet

After sleeping in, I woke up to a perfect morning.  A perfect morning for an odd mystery.  A couple of days ago, I had read the tale of Dinny the Dinosaur.  Dinny is the Calgary Zoo’s most beloved icon and resident of the Dinosaurs Alive section.  This wonderful sculpture was made by John Kanerva in 1935 and has been a landmark ever since.  But this landmark has a secret.  Inside its belly, it is rumoured to contain car parts, outhouse parts and timber.   Why on earth would this statue have these odd items inside of it?  I intend to find out. 

Heavenly Dessert First
Earthly Yumminess.

Luckily, on this day, some friends and I were going to have brunch at the zoo.  It was wonderful.  A lovely buffet was spread out for tastes of all kinds and the atmosphere had the feel of a luxurious safari waiting to be explored.  As you can see by my first picture, I decided to have dessert first.  You know the old saying, “Life is short, eat dessert first.”  The waffle I had with the mixture of rhubarb, blueberries, strawberries and a mountain of whipped cream was heaven.  But the earth came as well with the cheese, mixed green salad and vegetables.  My final course was fruit and chocolate fondue.  “Life is short, eat dessert last too.”  The food was perfect in every single way but I have to say that my favorite was the $5 mimosas and the Thai carrot soup.

The Waterfall
Prehistoric Park

After such a wonderful meal, adventure was the next thing on my plate.  My friends and I walked the jungle trails to the Prehistoric Park.  With a mix of beautiful waterfalls and a “dormant” volcano, we got to see the dinosaurs in their natural habitat.  Of course, the dinosaurs were statues and robots but we got the full experience of seeing how they lived.  The mystery still lies with the Brontosaurus named Dinny.  I took a few pictures of him and found nothing unusual in his appearance but that is just the surface.  So I asked around, talked to some of the workers and a few different stories came to light. 

Dinny the Dinosaur. Picture by Scott Richardson that is far better than mine.  It can be found at http://www.zoochat.com/525/dinny-dinosaur-one-time-zoo-mascot-288357/

One person who I initially thought was well informed told me that inside of the statue was an old Volkswagon Beetle.  They used this because it was the only way to make the dinosaur weighted and less likely to tip over due to its long neck.  There was an old car available that didn’t work anymore, so it presented the solution.  This person also told me that this was in the 1960s so it’s clearly not the true story.  Another worker that I talked to didn’t say much about it but it rang true to what I had heard about a Model T car being inside of Dinny.  The reason for this is the same as the above, to be weighted.  However, she told me it was made in 1919.  Hmmm.  Not the same dates.  Interesting no?  Not as interesting as what the last person I asked had said.  He told me that the beast came to life one night on a full moon and ate these things.  Unlikely as it seems, it would be the most fun.  At least he kept with the year of 1935. 

Target Practice

Luckily, I did get a chance to inquire about Dinny to some people higher up in the company.  They were very sweet about it.  Unfortunately, they don’t really know what’s inside of the dinosaur either since there is no one who worked there from the 1930s to ask about it.  They won’t let me crawl inside of him to see what’s in there which I completely understand.  Perhaps this is one of those mysteries that is best left unsolved…for now.  😉

Lady Diamond

My trip to the zoo came to an end, and I parted ways with my friends.  I left and went to indulge in one of my favorite hobbies of archery.  I like to go to Calgary Archery Center in the Southeast of Calgary.  I shot arrows at targets and cleared my head.  Archery for me has always been a very calming exercise.   I always figure out my next step after a good row of firing off a few arrows.  However, my serenity did not last long.  I had to make another stop.

I went to Canada Olympic Park to take “The Plunge.”  A waterslide that is over 800 feet long with speeds that go as fast as 30 kilometers per hour.  I can never resist a speedy wet ride on a hot summer day, so I paid my $15 and tried it out.  Yes I got wet, yes it went quickly and yes it was over too soon.  I found it refreshing flying down that tube, getting sprayed with cold water and landing head first into the small pool at the bottom.  Sometimes at the end of the day, you need a little cooldown. 

The Plunge

It’s funny isn’t it?  This whole day, I have been on safari and had a magnificent brunch at the zoo.  I shot arrows at still targets and slid down on a fast water apparatus.  And the best part is, the investigation of what’s in a dinosaur’s belly.   So if you or someone you know wants to go to the jungle, tell them to come to Calgary.  It is a jungle in itself. 


  1. What a fun day! And that zoo sounds like it’s pretty awesome! My kids would love all the dinosaur stuff! And I would guess, since so many people are saying it was some type of car, even if they can’t agree on which type and when it was, that it probably was. And the reasoning makes sense too, for the weight.

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