Dinosaur Park - Coming Soon . . . - Kingwood

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By: Pat Martins
Published: 12/17/2008 7:00pm


If you are a Kingwood resident who always makes a left-hand turn onto Highway 59 South when looking for entertainment venues and great shopping – that may be changing in the not too distant future.  In a couple of years with the opening of EarthQuest, you will find that East Montgomery County, specifically the New Caney area will be exploding with new options.


What is EarthQuest?  Well it will be much more than just a dinosaur museum or themed amusement park.  It is a massive project encompassing a variety of entertainment venues including both gated and free entry areas, retail stores, an outlet mall, a multitude of dining options, hotel facilities, convention center, corporate office space, research facility, and “green” single and multi-family homes.   Oh yes, did I mention the zoo?


If you were one of the lucky few who attended the East Montgomery County Improvement District’s (EMCID) Open House on December 8, 2008, you saw a 3D representation of the designer’s vision.  I sat down with Mr. Frank McCrady, CEO of EMCID to talk about this behemoth project and get the current status on how plans are proceeding.


As revealed in previous articles, the EarthQuest Project will be divided in two parts, both geographically and financially.  EarthQuest Ventures will be the for profit entity operating the theme park and assorted entertainment venues.  EarthQuest Institute is the non-profit entity overseeing the museum and various education components operating in conjunction with the “green” vision of this endeavor.  Geographically, The EarthQuest Resort will be located off of highway 59 between FM 1485 and FM 282 on the west side and FM 1485 and Roman Forest Blvd on the east side in New Caney, Texas.


Let’s take a visual tour of the layout for EarthQuest.  Starting on the far west side inside the gated EarthQuest theme park, there will be a zoo where visitors will be able to ride through and observe animals in a natural habitat setting.  Keeping with the “green” theme, you will not be driving through this area in your SUV but riding a train like passenger vehicle boasting energy efficiency instead. 


As we move east you will come to the center point of the theme park; a massive mountain structure which will feature three very distinctive environments.  One side of the mountain will focus on the artic / ice element, the second will focus on volcanic / heat element and the third will feature a rainforest aspect.  Each side of this mountain will contain a roller coaster type ride thematically appropriate for the element.



Surrounding this gigantic mountain there will be individual “worlds” which focus on the four basic elements – Earth, Water, Fire and Air. 



Each world will include themed rides and educational attractions which both entertain and educate park visitors.  Here is where the Disney comparison comes in.  EarthQuest should not be thought of as a place you visit for “distraction”, but as precisely the opposite.  People will visit EarthQuest for entertainment “attractions” and the educational element that will be infused. 





Do you remember visiting Epcot Center or Animal Kingdom at Disney World?  Although you were having fun and the kids were entertained, everyone was also learning something new.  That’s the idea here, except that at EarthQuest you are learning about our planet, both its past dating back to the dinosaur age, and its future focusing on how “green” technologies and conservation must be a factor.


Ok, now let’s move outside the gated area for some food.  Oh yes, there will be food inside the gated area, but lots more variety available in an area featuring restaurants and nightclubs outside the theme park itself.  Here again, I see a parallel to the Downtown Disney area where someone may just go for a great night out without ever entering the park itself.  The area will certainly be a draw for a visitor looking for theatre options and live music or comedy.


The EarthQuest Institute will be our next stop.  This area features the much discussed dinosaur museum.  Since “Dino” Don Lessem, world renowned dinosaur paleontologist is the principle driving individual behind this part of the development, you can be sure no corners will be cut.  Dr. Lessem is the creator of some of the world’s largest and most popular natural science exhibits, and is also the co-founder of the two largest foundations for paleontology: The Dinosaur Society, and the more recent Jurassic Foundation, raising millions of dollars for international science research.  The EarthQuest Institute will also house research facilities where “green” technologies will be developed, tested and introduced. 


Located next to the EarthQuest Institute Museum will be a hotel and convention center, but don’t think of it as your classic box like convention center.  This hotel will be appropriately themed similar to the Wilderness Lodge Resort at Disney or the Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta, Canada.  There will be an emphasis on a “green” partnership program which seeks to minimize the hotel’s impact on the planet. 


Located on the north side of the EarthQuest closer to highway 242 will be a water park.  This will be a gated venue, but will have a separate entry ticket, so a family may choose to visit just this attraction on a day trip.  More details are still to come on this part of the entertainment complex.  There will also be a non-gated area similar to the Mountasia Family Fun Center which will include Laser Tag, rock climbing wall, miniature golf courses, go karts, bumper boats and an arcade.


Did I mention the 4000 car parking garage?  There will be a main parking facility which will allow a central parking location where you can either walk to or ride a shuttle to each venue. 


There will be an area directly on either side of 59 which will act as a buffer and is reserved exclusively for retail space.  The front of EarthQuest will have “big box” stores, so it is likely to anticipate that you might see a Best Buy or Target before you get to the dinosaur exhibit.   


All of the development that I have described so far will be located on the west side of 59.   Across the highway on the east side, there will be a row of retail stores; however space is also reserved for an outlet mall. 


There will be a “technology transfer center” which will offer office space for businesses supporting “green” technology and construction.  Think of this as a corporate office park for businesses from around the world who are working on sustainability issues developing products and services to achieve this goal.  Want to reduce the “carbon footprint” of your business? Chances are the technology transfer center will be where you will find the answers.


Dr. Matthew Gardner was recently hired to spearhead project development.  Dr. Gardner is a Founding Director of Sustainserv, Inc. He formerly was the Executive Director of the Earth System Initiative, an environmental research and education center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In this role he oversaw a $40 million research and education portfolio, and was responsible for the development of new environmental research and education programs.



The remainder of the land on the east side will be for residential use.  There will be both multi-family and single family structures, and all will boast the most energy efficient and eco-friendly construction products.  It will be a living laboratory where scientist can study different aspects the master planned community of the future.  No, not like the Jetsons, they used way too much fuel. 



When can we expect ground breaking on this mammoth project?  Frank McCrady anticipates fall of 2009.  Mr. McCrady stated that he does not foresee any delay in construction plans as a result of the recent economic slowdown in the economy.  The key players involved in this project were well positioned financially and do not interpret the current economic climate as an obstacle.  On the non-profit side of things, representatives from Sage Fundraising Solutions have established potential contributors and have received a warm welcome so far.  Sage will be making full presentations in early 2009 regarding the EarthQuest Institute and museum and do not anticipate any major difficulties. 


As local residents this means in about six months we will see construction jobs being posted; that will be the first major financial benefit we will see from the EarthQuest Project. 


Mr. McCrady summed up our conversation by sharing that he envisioned EarthQuest as “a place not only where you can go somewhere for entertainment, but come away learning something which you take with you”.  “This project is dynamic, serving both an educational value as well as economic development.”








posted Feb. 12th, 2014 - 8:30pm
Brynthus says:
Obama killed it.

posted Oct. 2nd, 2013 - 5:15pm
Brynthus says:
Still just crickets......Don\'t worry, Exxon is building a huge complex by The Woodlands. You can take the family there.

posted Aug. 27th, 2013 - 2:47pm
Brynthus says:
All I hear is crickets..............

posted Jul. 4th, 2013 - 5:59am
Robert lilley says:
this could be good for our econemy we can only hope @ SPLENDORA LAND OWNER

posted Mar. 12th, 2013 - 12:42pm
Soldier says:
It sounds like a great plan in progress would be even better if it would actually come to life. Been away all my military life, but growing up here in Houston my home town, not only did i work at Astroworld, but got to enjoy the many rides and attraction to include water world. I have to say that was almost 26 and some change, years ago and a crying shame it has taking this long to bring back some fun back home!!!! Good luck, and hope you guys keep your word, alot folks counting on you and looking forward to taking a vacation right here at home!! \"AIRBORNE\"

posted Jan. 4th, 2013 - 10:30pm
Anonymous says:
Is this place ever going to be built

posted May. 1st, 2012 - 8:53am
norma says:
when is it going to open ?

posted Apr. 11th, 2012 - 11:59am
JF says:
Would anyone happen to know if this project is still in progress or has the plug been pulled?

posted Apr. 9th, 2012 - 12:45pm
Wild Forest Drive says:
It is nearly the summer of 2012 and I don't see any work being done, is this park going in and if so when? Since it almost backs up to my property it would be nice to know anticipated dates

posted Oct. 28th, 2011 - 4:39pm
shamsha says:
Its time !!! we needed something near houston where we can take our kids and enjoy some good times..I for one miss astro world ..hope this project delivers what they say.

posted Sep. 21st, 2011 - 9:41pm
OverGREENED... says:
I'm sure anyone reading this would agree that we should be responsible in our management of our one and only planet Earth. And I believe the dinosaur theme is right on target. But to continue this assault on the good will of good people by using the Green theme, which has been over-hyped, over-pushed and just flat out over-used will over-shoot. Mark my words. People would take their kids to a nice dinosaur themed park. People will not take the children they love to a liberal leaning, leftist carnival on steroids. Yes, the Green theme may have only been to rally tax support and initial funding, but can someone atleast lead with character and integrity for a change? That being said, I still hope the good comes through and the Dino Park is a success for the right reasons, and for our local economy.

posted Sep. 14th, 2010 - 4:05pm
Robin says:
Sounds like fun, having another park, but this one sounds a little "dry" don't you think? My kids enjoy the cartoony side of these places. Seems to me this will be aimed more towards adults, and their wallets.

posted May. 30th, 2010 - 9:43am
Ash says:
I like my quiet New Caney town thats why i moved out here. Now its going to be uprooted by a theme park, shopping malls and TRAFFIC. Where can any of us go anymore to get away from the "city life"?

posted Apr. 17th, 2010 - 10:11am
SueLu says:
The East Montgomery Chamber has been speaking and promoting this for at least 3 years now. This is not something new, and kudos to the Chamber for keeping us informed. Not sure where everyone else has been.. get in the know people, this is a great opportunity!Call your Chamber of Coomerce.

posted Mar. 30th, 2010 - 5:20pm
MeMe says:
I understand all of the concerns expressed by my fellow posters. In regards to New Caney ISD the fact that they are "Recognized" only means that more of our children pass the TAKS test because the curriculum is built around it. It definitely doesn't mean that New Caney ISD is superior in any way. I am excited about the new attraction but share in the fear that the unwanted traffic may be more than I can handle. We moved to Porter because it is the opposite of Houston and not as busy as Kingwood. Either way I am stuck here for another 7 years so Lord help us please!!!

posted Mar. 4th, 2010 - 3:35pm
Rennie March 4, 2010 says:
Any updated on Dinosaur Park???

posted Nov. 30th, 2009 - 11:33am
TC says:
I would love it to come so that kids will have a place to go in the summer and we will not have to go to Cali. or Fl for a thrill park

posted Nov. 24th, 2009 - 11:25pm
Kathy says:
I think is a great opportunity for the community and the citizens of East Montgomery County and New Caney ISD. As we see the economy getting worst and school districts such as Humble ISD which the Kingwood schools are a part of having financial difficulties where they have to use their school buses as bill boards. I am so glad when moving to the Kingwood area several years ago, and that we end up building on the Montgomery side of Kingwood. My children who attend the New Caney ISD which is an excellent school district, in fact the only "Recognized" school district in the area will benefit greatly from the tax revenues that this park will generate. What a great place and opportunity for my children to obtain summer employment. My family and I can hardly wait and are very happy and excited about the new growth that is occurring in the East Montgomery County area. When the New Caney Dinosaur Park becomes a reality and those all negative about this endeavor may change their minds when they see tax breaks and surplus to bring about positive growth. For those who don't won't new growth and prefer the quietness and seclusion, the park will raise your property values which will give you the opportunity to sell and move out further and acquire some nice property.

posted Nov. 23rd, 2009 - 12:16am
jjadhrm says:
I live in New caney that will be about a mile from the park. I think it's great that they are building it. New Caney has a lot to offer. You have dog fights, cock fights, last night Mex. music and a trailer park you can visit and get the drug of choice. Ain't it great living in this town.

posted Nov. 23rd, 2009 - 12:11am
aahr says:
I live in NEW CANEY, not kingwood. I own land and a big house that's only 5 yrs old. I hope it will come and bring land price up so we can sell and get out of NEW CANEY, not kingwood. Our land has full mature trees on it and will be less than 2 miles from the park.

posted Nov. 16th, 2009 - 1:24pm
We have some property out in Splendora and go and stay out there on the weekends. My family and I cannot wait for something like this in that area. WAY TO GO!!

posted Nov. 12th, 2009 - 8:20pm
a long time resident says:
I forgot one other thing, traffic is going to become impossible.

posted Nov. 12th, 2009 - 8:17pm
a long time resident says:
As far as I'm concerned, you can take your park and move it back to Houston. From someone who was born and raised in Houston, married to someone born and raised in Humble, moved to Humble then Kingwood over 30 yrs ago, why tear down more trees than they are already distroying in KW. There is plenty of land in Houston with abdoned buildings that could be built on without distroying more forest! They are already going to move all the "trash" from the mall to N. Park and 494 with the new movie theater & eating areas. There won't be a curfew and rules to keep the kids in check. The more you bring this way, the more crime you bring with it. Humble was a safe place until they built the strip centers and mall. We are getting to be more and more like the Greenspont area(which used to be nice too.)

posted Nov. 12th, 2009 - 11:11am
Gary G. says:
I believe that this could be great for the people of the Houston area. It would also make this area a destination for people from all around the United States, and possibly even a global draw. I can see nothing but good can come from this. I was hoping that Disney would build a centrally located park in Texas, but this could be even better. This may have a lower entry admission price without all the Disney hype. Let the fun begin!

posted Nov. 9th, 2009 - 5:12pm
Mike G. says:
Ok let think and be positives, we want happiness, fun, and lets look and learn, all of GOD's creations that he has did, So let us all have fun, and enjoy it while we still have it, I'm on GOD's side. And thank you.

posted Nov. 9th, 2009 - 1:07pm
yyyyea says:
wow, I am sorry folks, my computer posted twice, if there is an admin in the house please erase one and this message also.

posted Nov. 9th, 2009 - 1:06pm
yyyyea says:
disagree with cesspool, it's out of range in confederate-flag-raising-New-Caney... I am worried about all the trash, and quality of the water downstream, where I kayak frequently though. It is a snazzy location (airport, new 59 construction), and the American dream enables them to start it... so eh, hurry up, build it...

posted Nov. 9th, 2009 - 11:34am
williams says:
While I am thrilled about the growth it will bring to our area i am also afraid ,most of us live way out here to be away from the problems that the inner city face,now as well as in the future people from this area should be first pick for all employment in this project,now that would be growth and development!!!!

posted Nov. 9th, 2009 - 10:42am
yyyyea says:
disagree with cesspool, it's out of range in confederate-flag-raising-New-Caney... I am worried about all the trash, and quality of the water downstream, where I kayak frequently though. It is a snazzy location (airport, new 59 construction), and the American dream enables them to start it... so eh, hurry up, build it...

posted Nov. 6th, 2009 - 6:11pm
loved astroworld says:
I agree with the person who said astroworld became a cesspool. In the late 70's, when I had a season pass and went a couple time a week, it was the most fun in the world. But when it came time to take my children, I was wishing I had a can of mace and maybe a gun. Didn't feel safe at all, my purse might get ripped right off my arm.

posted Nov. 3rd, 2009 - 3:42pm
ethel says:
This was supposed to happen years ago in Jasper, but after getting everyone's hopes up, the developer changed his mind and pulled the plug. As a Christian, I would rather see it not happen, as it's just a clever way to deceive people and deny God's creation of the world. Please see AnswersinGenesis.org

posted Nov. 3rd, 2009 - 8:26am
Bob M. says:
This will never happen.
Who do you think will fund this?
Why do you think 6 flags pulled out of Houston

posted Oct. 30th, 2009 - 8:33pm
MJ says:
This is never going to happen. Houston can't sustain something like this. Thugs will buy a season pass and turn it into a cess pool like Astroworld ended up being.

posted Oct. 30th, 2009 - 9:38am
Ms. Gamble says:
Well they made sure that our kids would not be able to get jobs unless you live in that area how benefitting for you.....

posted Oct. 29th, 2009 - 4:26pm
J. Cisneros says:
Bring it!

posted Oct. 29th, 2009 - 3:19pm
Jim says:
Expected Opening date is sometime in 2012. Let's hope all the funding is solid.

posted Oct. 23rd, 2009 - 8:21am
Ms. Chan says:
Thank you!!! This is awesome. I am so excited, not only for the kids, but for adults that like to enjoy these types of parks also. Go with it take the Disney theme to a higher level.

posted Sep. 17th, 2009 - 11:57am
GC says:
where exactly is at The Earthquest Adventures sign

posted Sep. 14th, 2009 - 9:39pm
margie says:
the "coming soon" sign for Earthquest Adventures is finally posted on US Hwy 59... Lookout EMC things are finally on the move.

posted Aug. 29th, 2009 - 9:01am
margie says:
These folks seem to be taking the "disney approach" wanting to make Earthquest a family destination. I'm not conerned about property taxes but keeping the city limits of Houston out of Montgomery County.

posted Aug. 28th, 2009 - 1:32pm
ms_boricua says:
There will be good, bad and ugly... Good for the economy for this side of town with jobs and property value. Also, finally some family entertainment close to home. Bad when property taxes schoches (hope I can still afford my house in Valley Ranch) Ugly with the heavy traffic that will promote more accidents and nevertheless crime.

posted Jul. 7th, 2009 - 11:38am
JJ says:
I'll believe it when I see it.

posted Mar. 27th, 2009 - 1:52pm
JW says:
I can see a lot of good and bad things to come accompaning the project.Jobs for one, crime for the other. You can never have good without the bad. For those who live right next to it, good luck. It's going to be nuts. But there are those who would love to live right outside the gates. I would sell to the highist bidder, may get twice the value of what its worth.

posted Mar. 15th, 2009 - 1:00am
Jennifer says:
I agree with Kathy above.Would really like to know where that leaves us, the neighbors right outside the parks gates?

posted Mar. 8th, 2009 - 12:31am
mo says:
I can't wait, if everything works out it should be ten times better than Astroworld, screw six flags.

posted Feb. 24th, 2009 - 12:40pm
Kathy says:
What does this mean for the property owners that are living right behind this project? My property butts up to this project and I'm wondering how much noise and other things we will have to deal with?

posted Feb. 15th, 2009 - 12:34am
Jess says:
Any ideas on when jobs for construction crew will become available? My husband was laid off the first of the year and still has no work. he has been working for a construction/electrical company since last february. This would help us a lot we wouldnt be paying 2 rents and living seperately. If already known is there a web address where we can find info on thye company and apply?

posted Jan. 23rd, 2009 - 1:05am
pam2wise says:
Fundraising doesn't seem to difficult to me. There are many sites from Houstonians that dearly miss Astroworld. If these fundraisers and Engineers spend some time researching and listening to the people, they may be able to find many that would be willing to donate. As much as Astroworld is missed, maybe they could bring back some of the attractions that made Astroworld great in the first place.

posted Jan. 17th, 2009 - 9:46am
Donna says:
This project is right at my front door. What is going to happen with our property? We are used to a fairly quite neighborhood.

posted Jan. 16th, 2009 - 3:42pm

posted Jan. 16th, 2009 - 3:34pm
GLADYS FAY ON JAN.16TH - 3:32 says:

posted Jan. 16th, 2009 - 9:52am
crazy scheme says:
To those who have invested, or anyone that is thinking about it, this is just more proof that a fool and his money will soon be parted. This is proof that there is too damn much money in stupid peoples pockets.

posted Jan. 15th, 2009 - 3:50pm
We are HOPING this is a good thing! We're just not sure what all the influx of people, traffic and crime will do to our neighborhoods. Are our residential values going to go up? Or will they go down because of the congestion and crime? I sure would not have wanted to live anywhere Astroworld when it was here.

posted Jan. 15th, 2009 - 9:14am
Alice says:
We need something in the area besides the cock fights,and drug labs operating in the area. I for one hope the housing market goes up. Also hope we have some nice restaurants in the area. New Caney needs some growth and the only way to get it is spending some of the county money on tax abatements, roads and etc.

posted Jan. 14th, 2009 - 8:34am
Tad says:
Sounds like great news for the comunnity and surrounding areas

posted Jan. 12th, 2009 - 10:16pm
Sharon says:
Does this mean that my land which I've owned for 26 years south of this project is going to flood? I'm happy here - Take everything west of 59

posted Jan. 4th, 2009 - 9:05am
20051cts says:
How long is this endevor going to take to build?

posted Dec. 31st, 2008 - 10:53am
Lee says:
I think a Benzene sphere would be great! I like the Chemical industry and I think informing the public of their good would benefit all. They are responsible for Houston's sustained economy in this hard times. If bstevens has a problem, I suggest moving to California.

posted Dec. 30th, 2008 - 2:23pm
Amanda says:
All I can saw is AWESOME!!!

posted Dec. 28th, 2008 - 11:52am
Copernicus says:
That said... this project has me really pumped up. When they start looking for software people with environmental and health regulatory experience I may just give them a call. Talk about a dream job...

posted Dec. 21st, 2008 - 3:17pm
bstevens says:
How fitting...will there be a "benzene sphere" where we can see all the ill health effects of Houston's corrupt chemical system at work...oooopss another chemical release, ohh we're sorry, just fine us, It won't happen again..

posted Dec. 19th, 2008 - 4:45pm
Conner says:
I'm really hoping this park works out! I've told all my friends and family and they are all THRILLED that there might be a themepark opening in the Houston area!


posted Dec. 19th, 2008 - 10:24am
Yeah, I went to an event for this thing last month and they handed out a thick booklet of bios for all the dozens of consultants involved from across the country and around the world. The fundraising team alone consists of several local and national firms. Pretty impressive project.

posted Dec. 19th, 2008 - 10:08am
Unfounded remark says:
The remarks above "From what I hear, watch out" are completely inaccurate and unfounded. I have been working with Sage consultants for years and I have found them to consistently be professional, diligent, and highly effective. At a simpler level, the language of the blog is rather laughable. Anyone who works around nonprofit fundraising is familiar with Sage. They are a well known and respected name in the industry. The person who wrote this seems to have a very limited understanding of fundraising. In addition, they clearly have very little knowledge of the Earthquest project.

posted Dec. 19th, 2008 - 9:17am
This is factually incorrect in every way. I know for a fact that this project was bid out to multiple firms and Sage won the bid based on their experience, expertise, and reputation. The terms described above are not accurate. And Sage has been integrally involved in every aspect of this project for many months now.

posted Dec. 19th, 2008 - 12:17am
From what I hear....watch out! says:
Sages Fundraising, I’m told, is a start-up fundraising firm and has very little experience, especially with a project of this magnitude, I’m sure they are nice people, but it’s come to my attention that they may be/or will be, paying Don Holbrook to push them on us. Since I assume there are public dollars being used here, wouldn’t it be prudent for us to look at at least three other more established and reputable firms with a more proven track record and not risk just handing over this huge project in a non-bid fashion because Holbrook tells us to (is that even legal?), to a novice firm, that’s only been in business a few months, and a firm that's been bragging “they got an 18-month contract” from us, to the tune of a half a million dollars ($500,000) of our hard earned money? It’s time to slow down and apply some good common business sense and not be pushed by outsiders! Let’s not get egg on our face because we didn’t conduct our due diligence and for not following any bidding laws that might apply to organizations that receive public dollars, especially in these economic times. Please know, I’m all for the project, I just suspect some may be getting the wool pulled over their eyes!

posted Dec. 17th, 2008 - 8:33pm
clairest says:
Maybe this will bring up the housing prices here after it is built. Good for us.

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