"We were having such fun in the daytime, but then we hosted an event there and we knew people were going to be leaving after dark, so we thought, 'We'll light up the trails.' So we got Coleman lanterns and put them out on the trails. The sun went down and we thought, 'This is the coolest place in the world after dark," the Secaucus attraction's creator, Guy Gsell, told United Press International in a recent telephone interview about where the idea came from to keep the park open after dark.
So, what has the response been?
"We have a real size-limit on how many people can come. It's less than 200 people who can come in a night, so we've actually sold a couple of nights out. We are getting a good response and the response is actually growing as we get closer to Halloween," he explained. "Because we're a really good alternative for somebody who wants something spooky for their kids, but their kids are too little for the zombies and cut-off arms that you see in some of the haunted houses and haunted rides. We're not as scary those things, but we're spooky for little kids."
Gsell said attendance is limited, in part, due to safety concerns, since visitors walk the dark trails using hand-held flashlights to glimpse its dinosaur denizens.
"It's also because it's more of a show. When you come to Field Station: Dinosaurs in the daytime, it is truly is like going to the zoo. You walk around, you look at animals, you can stop in to some workshops or play some games or see some shows and we do them multiple times during the day. But at night because there is the need to control access and walk through the park with a park guide and because it is a show with a beginning a middle and an end, we have to limit how many people we bring into the park at night," Gsell said.
He said he hoped visitors find their trip to Field Station is an opportunity to learn about history and science as well as an entertaining night out.
"Everything we do is educational; that goes without saying. We always try to find a lesson to teach; something the kids can go away with and begin a little bit of exploration on their own ... ," Gsell said.
The nighttime attraction will be open to the public Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 10. The park will wrap up its daytime season Nov. 11 and is scheduled to reopen in April.