A group of Hermann families turned out Saturday morning to help open and dedicate a new park designed specifically with children's playtime in mind.
Owen's Dinosauria Park -- located in the area of Ninth and Washington streets adjacent to Hermann City Park -- officially opened for the first time on Saturday. The sand-filled grounds are designed for children, who can feel free to stop by and bury play dinosaurs, toy bones, and any other toys. The facility features a few dinosaur-like creations embedded in the sand and is named in memory of Owen Harold Steiner. Family members took photos and sported T-shirts emblazoned with Owen's image, a dinosaur design, and the message "Hear Owen's Roar."
Children who attended the opening were treated to Popsicles and wandered about the structure in hopes of digging up buried dinosaur toys and plastic eggs containing prizes. The project was built by Hermann Park Pride. Molds were used to create the toys, with Owen's brother Reid and sister Quinn leading the way.
Light showers failed to prevent the enthusiastic children from darting about the grounds while wearing dinosaur masks.
Park Pride member Susan Lenger said the idea of such a project began taking shape as far back as 2015 and 2016, and that the spirit used in its grass-roots creation embodies the best of Hermann. The River City Cruisers and Hermann Jaycees have been among its participants.
"This is our last park project," she told the crowd. "This is the last big thing….This is Owen's park….You can come here and bury toys anytime you want."
Lenger said Park Pride has also supervised such improvements as a tetherball and basketball court. The organization will also be working on sponsorship of a Christmas Wish Tree for children.
Msgr. Greg Higley, pastor of St. George Catholic Parish in Hermann, gave a blessing for the park, noting the facility will help heal the broken hearts of parents who have lost children.