Backyard Terrors: The Tri-Cities’ own Jurassic Park

Tri-Cities Original

Walking into Chris Kastner’s backyard is like taking a walk into the past.

Behind his home on Walnut Grove Road in Bluff City is a pre-historic playground.

Chris’s backyard, also called “Backyard Terrors Dinosaur Park,” has dozens of true-to-size monsters from the past spanning a six-acre area.

“It’s something I came up with just because I like dinosaurs,” he said. “I started with three or four of them. Now we’re at 56 different species.”

Each dinosaur was handcrafted by Chris himself, who says his love for dinosaurs began when he was a child.

He recalls playing on the farm as a kid. The plastic toy dinosaurs may have been small, but Chris’s imagination was large.

“A little fern looks like a giant tree. You put a little model beside of it and it looks like the whole forest in one go,” Chris said. “And I was back here and would bury them. And some would survive. It really kicked off when I saw Jurassic Park!”

“I liked Dinosaurs before that. But I really loved them after that.”

So much so that by 2001, Chris had figured out how to craft his first creature.

“I built one,” he said. “People stopped and took pictures of it. I built another one and then people would stop and say this is pretty cool, and I said sure.”

One became two. Then more and more. People came, and by 2014, his backyard had become a tourist destination.

Admission is free but donations are a big help.

“We’ve grown this big just on the donations people have given us,” Chris said. “I just want people to check it out and experience it.”

Backyard Terrors Dinosaur Park is located at 1065 Walnut Grove Rd, Bluff City, TN 37618. For more information, visit the park’s website or Facebook page.

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Born and raised in the Tri-Cities, Josh Smith has been a member of the WJHL team since 1999. His family roots go deep in the region, and he’s traveled through almost every part of it covering news on local TV since 1995. When he’s not on the job, he’s with his wife, two sons, and daughter.   “They’re the best part of me,” he said.   You may run into them biking on the Tweetsie Trail, hiking around Bays Mountain Lake, or browsing the shelves at the local public libraries.

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