It has been reported that a £75 million prehistoric theme park is on the verge of becoming a reality in Dorset.
‘Jurassica’ will be built in an old quarry located in Portland and will re-create the history of the surrounding area, which is renowned for its fossils exposed in the layers of cliff rocks. The Jurassic Coast, which runs from Exmouth in Devon to The Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, is considered to be the only site in the world that shows evidence of millions of years of the earth’s history.
Plans have been compared to those of the Eden Project, as it will house robot swimming plesiosaurs, as well as fossils and interactive displays. Estimates suggest that the attraction will bring in 700,000 visitors each year, which will add to the many tourists staying in holiday cottages in Dorset and will provide a tremendous tourism boost for Weymouth and Portland. The Jurassic coastline itself already attracts between 12 and 15 million visitors each year, with ITV drama Broadchurch also attracting people to the area too.
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The project, which is supported by Sir David Attenborough, is expected to create 200 jobs, as well as provide a number of opportunities for learning due to a partnership with Bournemouth University. Currently, the theme park has been awarded a number of grants and has since bid for a £16 million Heritage Lottery Fund Award.
The park is expected to be completed in 2020 and will span 100m when finished, which will be about a third of the size of the Millennium Dome to put this in perspective. It will sit inside the quarry, which is 120ft deep and 300ft across, where six million tonnes of white limestone was once quarried to build St Paul’s Cathedral.