TPWD News Release — Sept. 27, 2011
GLEN ROSE, TX—Beginning this Saturday, Oct. 1, people can enhance their experience at one of Texas’ oldest landmarks, featuring some of the newest technology: a mobile application for Dinosaur Valley State Park.
Long considered a popular tourist attraction for its well-preserved dinosaur footprints in the Paluxy riverbed inside the 1,500-acre park, Dinosaur Valley State Park will launch a free mobile app for smartphones running on iOS (a.k.a. iPhone) and Android platforms, so that park visitors can have enhanced interpretive tours on site via their cell phones and internet enabled mobile devices, such as iPads.
“One of the current problems we face at our park is that our interpretive displays are somewhat outdated, and our staff is just too limited to offer enough tours to meet all of the public demand,” said Shannon Blalock, superintendent at Dinosaur Valley State Park. “Now, this app allows us to provide accurate information that can be continuously updated. And visitors will be able to experience real-time tours whenever they want, at points of interest throughout the park. They’ll be able to access video and audio clips, photos and written information right from their phones. We think it will make people’s park experience that much better.”
In addition, on Saturday, Oct. 15, the park will host a brief “app launch party” in conjunction with National Fossil Day, a part of Earth Science Week and a tradition set by the National Park Service to promote stewardship and awareness of fossils. The park will host a Dino Dig and other activities that day as well.
Throughout the month of October, folks will also be able to register to win a free iPad2 tablet that will be given away by the Glen Rose Convention and Visitor Bureau, a regional tourism council that helps attract visitors to the Glen Rose area, to help kick off the new Dinosaur Valley State Park phone app. Through Oct. 31, registration entries can be dropped off on site at the Friends of Dinosaur Valley State Park Store inside the park, or go to the Glen Rose CVB Web site at http://www.glenrosetexas.net .
Once the free app is downloaded to a mobile device, visitors at the park are alerted to various points of interest as they approach by a phone vibration triggered by the hardware’s GPS. Users can then click through for all sorts of detailed information, clips and other options highlighting a specific park feature.
The phone app will also include a “categories” section that will list businesses, restaurants, lodging and other attractions nearby, as well as a “maps” section that can provide turn-by-turn directions on how to get to area attractions en route from Dinosaur Valley State Park.
Dinosaur Valley State Park is the first state park in Texas to utilize such technology, but likely won’t be the last, as this program essentially cost the state park nothing to develop. The park’s friends group, L.D.L. Friends of Dinosaur Valley, made the initial investment to buy the mobile app, but the community liked the idea so much—combined with the ability to add local businesses as advertisers onto the phone app—they reimbursed the friends group for the purchase price, and invested some of their own dollars. All revenue generated from advertising sales also directly benefits the park’s friends group, which helps fund numerous projects within Dinosaur Valley State Park.
Undoubtedly, Dinosaur Valley’s phone app will serve as a model for future partnerships.
“Tourism is a huge industry in Glen Rose for such a small town, and the state park is a big part of that,” said Billy Huckaby, executive director of the Glen Rose CVB. “This is not only a good way to promote the state park but also all of the other wonderful attractions that we have here in Glen Rose. Tourism is a $23 million industry per year in Glen Rose. This new technology is where everything is headed; it’s just exciting to see Dinosaur Valley at the forefront… It kind of brings us from the dinosaurs all the way to the technology age, so to speak. “
To locate the free app, simply search your smartphone’s app store and type in “Dinosaur Valley State Park,” or “Glen Rose,” and download to your device. If you don’t have a smartphone, content is still available online, and can be used to help plan people’s trip in advance to the state park. To view the phone app Web site, visit https://market.android.com/details?id=com.barz.tourguide.dvsp&feature=search_result
Dinosaur Valley State Park is located just northwest of the town of Glen Rose along the Paluxy River, about an hour’s drive southwest of the Fort Worth metro area, and features some 45 water and electric campsites in addition to numerous primitive tent campsites. The park is also a popular destination for mountain bikers. Recent surveys done on site at the park revealed that more than 40 percent of park visitors had smartphone devices.
For more information, contact the park at (254) 897-4588, or visit the state park Web site at http://www.texasstateparks.org/.