Parasaurolophus (Definitely Dinosaurs by Playskool)

3.3 (6 votes)

Review and photographs by dinoguy2, edited by Suspsy

One of the larger dinosaurs from Playskool’s Definitely Dinosaurs Series 2, the Parasaurolophus is really nice-looking for a preschool toy. Featuring similar articulation to the other large dinosaurs in the series, it has a hinge jointed neck for up and down head movement, swivel joints at all four limbs, and a rotatable tail . . . for some reason. Seriously, I don’t know why they spent money articulating the tail this way, but I do remember being six years old and thinking that movable tails were a good and necessary feature, so I guess kid logic is what matters here.

Like all the Playskool dinosaurs, the two-tone color scheme is basic, but the dark and light purple here really make this one pop. The sculpting is very nice, and the larger format figure allowed more detail than usual to be added. The body is covered in large, flat scales, wrinkles, and croc-like belly scutes, all of which which we can now say is incorrect, but it definitely adds interest to the look of the toy and enhances playability by giving lots of places to grip when you’re flinging it around at other dinosaurs, or your siblings.

The plastic body is hard, rigid, hollow plastic, while the head, limbs, and tail are softer. The feet and hands both have only three digits each, with big broad hooves. The fingers, while held together as a unit, were sculpted to look distinct from each other, without the hoof-like “mitten” scientists would soon realize was common to hadrosaurids. The head sculpt is the real star of the show, and really looks good, if obviously inspired by John Sibbick’s artwork of the late ‘80s. In fact, like the Playskool Pachycephalosaurus, the whole overall pose seems to have been based on Sibbick. The range of motion in the head, though, allows a lot more variety in the postures this one can achieve.

The Parasaurolophus stands 25 cm tall and measures 40 cm long. It comes with a saddle that slings across the body, rather than plugging into a peg, which is a neat variation of the idea, as well as the standard storybook. The included Cavester pal is Romur, a bearded caveman with bright yellow fur boots. Series 2 has greater variety in the Cavesters, and relied less on repaints than Series 1.

Compared to modern Parasaurolophus toys, this one definitely feels a little out of date, especially given its basically obligatory tripodal pose. But at the same time, it feels like a classic, and a quintessential mid-1990s dinosaur with a somewhat old school posture combined with a vibrant color scheme and overall John Sibbick vibe. It’s also big and has a lot of heft to it (I believe this is the second-largest bipedal dinosaur Playskool made), but not too much – while the sauropods Playskool produced, and even the Tyrannosaurus, are a little unwieldy for very young kids to carry around, this Parasaurolophus is big enough to feel really substantial to a kid, while at the same time being just small enough and poseable enough for versatile play. It’s always been one of my favorite toys in this line, probably because it hits that sweet spot between a nice appearance, size, and sturdiness.

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Comments 6

  • Oh man, this one really brings back memories. This was one of my favorite dinosaur toys growing up. Glad to see it on the blog.

    • Never owned any of these toys myself. I thought they were neat, but Dino-Riders was going on at the same time.

      • Yup, I had the Tyco stuff too. My dinosaur collection as a kid was almost as good as the collection I have now. Carnegie, Invicta, Kenner, etc. Sold it all at yard sales as a teenager, big mistake.

        • Yeah, I sold off the majority of my Dino-Riders the same way, sadly. At least I never owned any of the super rare Series 3 or the Ice Age toys. That would have really made it excruciating hindsight.

          • Most of my old Dino-Riders broke when I was a kid (the big motorized ones in particular could be fragile), though I’ve still got most of my Definitely Dinosaurs somewhere. Including old Para here, which I’m pretty sure was the first dinosaur toy I ever owned (either it or the spinosaurus from the same line, which has… not aged well).

  • The commercial for these toys was fantastic. A real earworm.

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