The founder of the ‘Jurassica’ project has promised that the theme park set to be built in a disused Portland quarry will open in 2021.
Even though it was recently announced that the development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund was not successful, financial help from both the brewery Hall & Woodhouse and the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership has been secured. It is thought that Jurassica will cost £80 million to build, and it is considered to be a significant investment in Dorset, as it will create numerous jobs and attract thousands of tourists to the area.
A project described as Dorset’s answer to the ‘Eden Project’
Visitors on Dorset cottage holidays can expect to experience a reconstructed seashore landscape, complete with an aquarium home to animatronic reptiles and pterosaurs perching on the rock ledges. The attraction will also showcase some of the best fossils that have been found along the Jurassic Coast, alongside a saltwater lagoon, sea caves, rock stacks, living corals and other ancient marine organisms.
The project is also being backed by Sir David Attenborough and has partnerships with Bournemouth University and the Natural History Museum in London. Although the process has so far not been easy, the founder continues to stress that it is possible and will become a certainty.
Michael Hanlon, who is chief executive of the project, told the Western Daily Press, "The Cove will present a specific period in prehistory and everything visitors see will be both realistic and an accurate representation of the plants and animals that were alive at that time."
He also expressed his gratitude for the support from those who will help fund the project, and said, “Forget visions and scientific integrity; without cold, hard cash projects are no more than websites. We are hugely grateful for the ongoing support from Colonial Leisure Limited, owners of the Pennsylvania Castle estate on Portland.”