Success of dinosaurs should be just a start
Today is the final day to see the dinosaurs up close at the Mid-America Air Museum before they migrate to their next location, but the invasion of the prehistoric creatures has been a boon to the local economy.
Preliminary numbers are just starting to come in, and they are staggering. More than 18,000 made their way through the exhibit including more than 7,000 children from Liberal and out-of-town districts from five states.
The Liberal City Commission and staff supported the project and gave it the tools needed to be a huge success.
Not only did the museum bring in a number of people who have never been to the museum before, many had never been to Liberal, and the use of dinosaurs as an attraction is proof that the High Plains is hungry for these types of educational and entertaining events.
Using the most conservative method of calculating the economic impact of the dinosaur exhibit, the dinosaurs had a local economic impact of $1.98 million. That includes meals, fuel and local shopping.
While other communities are looking to draw people in a variety of ways, there is clearly a market for the edu-tainment crowd.
By bringing in fun, educational exhibits, the entire region will make the trip to see it.
MAAM Director Jim Bert, his staff, volunteers, as well as the City of Liberal and museum foundation board should be congratulated for their project and foresight to take us all back in time to the age of dinosaurs, but we should also thank them for bringing money to our businesses, as well.
Bert calls the tourist dollar a “clean dollar,” and he is right. Bringing tourists to town for exhibits like the dinosaurs gives them the opportunity to spend money in our community without the need for additional infrastructure expenses like streets, utilities, etc. At the end of the day, the visitors are able to go back home, but only after they spent money in Liberal.
Many who attended the dinosaurs asked the best question anyone could expect from this first experience with Liberal, “When is the next one?”
There are many other exhibits that can come to Liberal, and the MAAM is a great venue for them.
There are also plans for a building at Dorothy’s House and the Land of Oz exhibit building that can also be used.
With a strong working relationship between the two entities, the entire region can plan to make more trips to Liberal to enjoy an educational experience which means bringing more tourism dollars to Liberal.