OGDEN -- Robert Marquardt doesn't want his visitors to become extinct like the dinosaurs in his park, so he's making some changes.
Beginning July 1, the Ogden Dinosaur Park & Museum Foundation will take over management from the city of Ogden, something Marquardt, the park's founder, has desired for a very long time.
"I've been hoping this would happen for over 10 years," he said.
"I know the advantages of what's going to happen under direct management control versus government control. I feel very strongly about this change taking place."
Marquardt said that while the city did a wonderful job with the park with the resources it had, it just wasn't enough to keep things alive.
"We need many, many volunteers, and we need more staff. We need people teaching and talking with our students and other visitors," he said.
"We have a gem cave and a gold cave, for example, that are just sitting there dormant. Nobody is there to tell people about them.
"We need that excitement back. We want people to want to come to the park daily or weekly, not just once a year. We want them to be excited to be there, and we want them to learn every aspect that can be taught or introduced."
Mark Wayment, the foundation's vice chairman, said the change is also necessary in order to solicit more donations.
"When you have a city-run park, people aren't as willing to donate because they feel they're already doing that through their taxes," he said.
"The city has supported the park as much as it could, but it has become somewhat stagnant."
Wayment said several immediate changes will take place when the foundation takes over.
First and foremost, a bridge will be built across the river, leading to 9 additional acres that will be developed.
"The park is going to stay the same as far as the entertainment and education of our prehistoric ancestors goes," Wayment said.
"We are really excited to bring more to the public. We already have over 130 dinosaurs to the tune of several million dollars, which is a huge asset to the community, and we are thrilled to be able to continue bringing even more to our visitors."
Park visitors will not see changes in entrance rates or hours, but will notice more staff members, volunteers and programs, he said.
Dinosaur sculptures based on actual fossil skeletons fill the park and are brought to life through robotics and a state-of-the-art sound system.
Marquardt said he wants visitors to come to the park, learn, be entertained and have hands-on opportunities.
"I think you'll see, and I'm hopeful you'll see, many, many new things that will occur at the park," he said.
"I don't want things just lying there while people walk by. I want them to stop and listen and learn and experience the park.
"We have a great facility, but we need a full staff to run it. We plan to do that, and we plan to keep up with science as it occurs."
The city was responsible for insurance and maintenance. The museum was built and run by donations from private foundations and admission costs, Wayment said.
He said there will no longer be a single manager at the park and current Manager Kevin Ireland will leave July 1.
"The (park) will now be managed by the foundation," Wayment said. "We wish Kevin Ireland the very best wishes in the world."