he meek and timid, be
warned: there is no turn-
Once you begin this
story you will be im-
mersed in a world of fake
blood and guts, of the
meaty jawed Tyranno-
saurus Rex, of screaming
Brontosauri and mighty
horned creatures that
shriek throughout the
You are about to enter...
But wait. What exactly is
According to the site's brochure,
the forest offers a 40-minute trip
through "the mysterious and for-
midable world of long ago where
you'll encounter the great
dinosaurs, sabre-tooth tiger, pre-
historic man and much more!"
Or, for the more pragmatic visi-
tor, it's a ride through a woods
dotted with fiberglass dinosaur
figures each of whom, thanks to
audio chips, dutifully moans and
howls. There's some education,
too: a brief tour will teach you
what the Rexmeister ate and just
how much that fun guy,
Ankylosaurus, really weighed.
"Ugggh," a recent visitor
moaned as her train passed a
Prehistoric Forest display of one
dinosaur downing one of his com-
"Yes, yet another disgusting
scene," the tour guide cheerfully
There are no groans from the
kids, though. They love it.
The owner of this dinosaur
delight is Marvin Sapiro, a
Baltimore native who six years
ago took over the business with
his son, Bruce. They bought
Prehistoric Forest, built about 25
years ago, and Mystery -Hill (more
on that later) from a neighbor,
Mrs. Pettit, who in her senior
years decided handling
the properties was
too much work.
scary — strictly
for kids," Mr.
Forest is located
in the Irish Hills,
a fun-filled (if
resort area about 90
minutes west of Detroit.
Irish settlers first began
building homes in the area in the
1850s, finding the rolling green
hills and abundant lakes reminis-
cent of their homeland.
Today, the Irish Hills are home
to a private railroad car
that once belonged to
"Stagecoach Stop," a
recreated Wild West village with
gunfights and a huge collection of
antique carriages. The Irish Hills
has a guns and ammo shop, too
(boasting HUNDREDS OF
GUNS!) and a lake front, at
Hayes State Park, where the
small shop sells Cokes, batteries
and Good Humor (kosher) ice
But it's Prehistoric Forest that
first catches your eye. "You can't
miss it," employees will say if you
call for directions.
They're not lying.
Located just past Hayes State
Park on U.S. 12, the forest's cen-