Published Friday, July 26, 2013 | 2:15 p.m.
Updated Friday, July 26, 2013 | 2:35 p.m.
Map of Shang-Gri-La Prehistoric Park
733 Greenway Road, Henderson
Another dinosaur has taken up residence in a Henderson yard renowned for its prehistoric replicas.
A 21-foot-long, 78-inch-tall model of a postosuchus – a carnivorous dinosaur with a crocodile-like body, complete with a large crocodile smile – arrived Friday morning, after months of delays, at Steve Springer's home in Henderson.
The creature received a warm welcome: Balloons lined the fence in Springer’s yard, neighborhood children gleefully enjoyed pixie sticks and parents had their cameras out, capturing their children's shocked, slack jaws shift into wide smiles as they observed the creatures on Springer's lawn.
Springer's front yard, 733 Greenway Road, is the life-sized version of a dinosaur-crazed child's toy box. Prehistoric creatures, including a triceratops, a velociraptor and a brontosaurus, crowd the lawn. The new postosuchus, made out of resin, was placed right next to the Tyrannosaurus rex.
Springer, a retired middle school teacher and fondly known as "Dinosaur Man" to the neighborhood, began collecting dinosaur models in 2005 for his "Shang-Gri-La Prehistoric Park." He said the newest addition would most likely be his last big dinosaur purchase.
"Spacewise, there's not much room, so this will be the last of the giants," Springer said.
The dinosaur, which originated in the Philippines, was set to arrive in May, but handlers forgot to put the half-ton dinosaur in a container, Springer said.
"We don't even ask anymore how that happens," Springer laughed heartily and quipped, "Because he's so tiny, right?"
After a weeklong custom's check in a Los Angeles port and a prolonged trip to Chicago, where a special crate had to be built for the dinosaur, the postosuchus arrived Monday at Outdoor Living in Henderson.
Outdoor Living's owner Justin Hon, who has been selling dinosaur models to Springer for seven years, said he received a handful of looks Friday morning when he drove the large creature to Springer's home.
"One guy was videotaping us all the way down," Hon recalled.
After another delay – the crane that was supposed to move the dinosaur into Springer's yard was pulled over by police – the dinosaur found its footing on Springer's lawn.
Stephen Richardson, who lives in the same neighborhood, was one of dozens who turned out to watch a huge crane move the dinosaur into Springer's yard. Richardson said his 2- and 5-year-old daughters often asked to "visit the Dinosaur House."
"They come up here and sit on the tortoises on the driveway. They check out the T-rex and all of that. They love it," Richardson said.
Richardson said his kids had never been scared of the toothy prehistoric creatures. Like Richardson's children, other neighborhood kids happily posed with the postosuchus, with its mouthful of threatening-looking teeth.
"All his teeth are showing and it looks like he could eat you," said Springer. He added that he's never encountered a child who was afraid of his dinosaur yard.
Although Springer was excited about the dinosaur's grin, it was the other sets of pearly whites that served as Springer’s highlights.
"It's all for the kids," Springer said, adding that his favorite part of the day was "seeing all the smiles on the kids' faces."
He encourages visitors to meet the newest member of his dinosaur family.
"Come by anytime and get an extra smile for the day," Springer said.