Dinosaur park closes after almost 20 years

CRESWICK tourism icon Dinosaur World has closed its doors after almost 20 years of business.

The attraction, which has had several owners and was one of only a few family attractions in the area, was taken over just a year ago by Keah Otto.

Dinosaur World opened in 1982 and included displays, a museum, playground and barbecues.

Mrs Otto said there were many reasons for the closure, including insurance and WorkCover issues.

''There were a lot of issues with it. When we bought it a year ago it was terribly run down, and it got to the point where it was a money pit,'' she said.

''Our public liability and business insurance premiums were very expensive. We had a lot of problems all in one hit, and before the insurance renewals were due we just said it's not worth it.''

Mrs Otto said while public liability was a contributing factor, it was not the only reason for the closure.

''Owning our own business was a dream that we put our life savings into,'' she said.

''It's an incredible disappointment we had such high hopes and expectations.''

Mrs Otto said the unique attraction drew many people to the area.

''It was such an asset to the community, people would come from Melbourne specifically to see the dinosaurs then stay to look around,'' she said.

''It was something that was very unique and we thought it was such a good opportunity.''

Mrs Otto said she didn't think the closure would have an immediate impact on Creswick.

''It's winter now so visitor numbers drop off anyway,'' she said.

''I don't think the impact will be felt for a while.''

Mrs Otto said she had no plans to sell and would continue to live on the site.

''We'll continue to work on it bit by bit and keep our options open,'' she said.

''Hopefully in about five years time we can reassess the situation.''

Hepburn Shire Council tourism and recreation officer Geoff Ryan said the closure of Dinosaur World was ``disappointing.''

''We need to have lots of good quality family holiday experiences in the shire and there was potential for the park to provide that,'' he said.

''It's extremely disappointing, particularly for Creswick which doesn't have many attractions.''