Calgary Zoo's oldest stone dinosaur getting patched up

The dinosaur statue is the last remaining of 56 that were in the original Natural History Park at the Calgary Zoo.

Zoo plans on fixing cracks and putting a 'bit more of a smile on his face'

Dinny is the last of 56 statues that were part of the original Natural History Park at the Calgary Zoo. (Terri Trembath/CBC Calgary)

Dinny the dinosaur towers 12 metres high with deep cracks and missing patches peppered over its cement body.

From nose to tail tip, his faded grey-blue body stretches 26 metres long.

Dinny is the last remaining structure from the original Natural History Park at the Calgary Zoo. The statue has weathered several hardships, including when he was submerged up to his neck in floodwaters in 2013.

Now, the stone representation of creatures who roamed Alberta long ago will be getting some much needed maintenance.

Dinny the Dinosaur in 1941. (Calgary Zoo)

The zoo is investing its own funds — and asking the public for help in raising $100,000 — to make esthetic improvements on Dinny.

"He's got a great big crack in his tail, he's got some patches missing, he's got cracks all over and he's just looking sad,"  said Stacey Smith with the Calgary Zoo.

"We're looking at patching those different pieces, we're looking at filling the cracks and actually re-painting him so we can put a bit more of a smile on his face."

Two years ago, the zoo spent $200,000 reinforcing Dinny's neck and rear left leg, but they say he is due for surface update.

In 1937, the original Natural History Park's name changed to the Calgary Zoo and Natural History Park.

The surface of Dinny the Dinosaur is pockmarked with holes and has deep cracks which will be addressed with the refurbish. (Terri Trembath/CBC Calgary)

The park, where Dinny stands, was dismantled in 1983 and the remaining 55 structures — designed and built by Finnish-born artist John Kanerva — were destroyed.

Dinny is the last survivor.

The plan for the prehistoric improvements is that they are to be completed this summer, with a big unveiling come September, according to Smith.

So far, the fundraising effort has raised $25,000.

With files from Terri Trembath and Dave Dormer


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