A new dinosaur center in the Free State worth R84 million is nearing completion



Tourism in South Africa has gotten a bit more adventurous with a new dinosaur national park in the Free State nearing completion.

The Golden Gate Highlands National Park Dinosaur Interpretive Center in Clarens, Free State, is set to wow visitors when it officially opens after four years of construction.

SANParks launched the project for a world-class interpretive center in 2018 and according to Business Insider, it is close to completion.

The purpose of the center is to tell the story of the dinosaurs in the park and in the region.

The center is estimated to cost nearly R84 million and the design is inspired by the unique scales of dinosaurs.

Initially, this was the intention of the building. According to the World Buildings Directory, “The intervention is designed to have minimal impact on the beautiful Golden Gate landscape.”

“It will be built on the only disturbed land in the valley next to Glen Reenen Campground and will be a visitor center that will tell the story of the dinosaur eggs that were recently discovered when the road was cut through the valley. “

Cartoon illustration of the Dinosaur Interpretive Center, Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Photo: Mashabane Rose & Associates/Phill Mashabane

“These are the oldest known dinosaur nests in the world, found in the same park where scientists previously unearthed the oldest known dinosaur embryo.

“The area is filled with fossils of large dinosaurs in sandstone rock. The center will primarily be an interactive museum, located in an already thriving tourist spot, Golden Gate National Park.

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The intention of the center is not just to be a tourist attraction and museum but a scientific research station to preserve the remains of the rich archaeological site of Golden State in the Free State, which was discovered in 2012.

Cartoon illustration of the Dinosaur Interpretive Center, Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Photo: Mashabane Rose & Associates/Phill Mashabane

Construction of the Dinosaur Interpretive Center in Golden Gate Highlands National Park began in 2019 and was completed in March this year.

What remains of the center is the final touch of the interiors. The main architect is Phill Mashabane and the contract managers are GVK-Siya Zama.

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