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Mini golf course closing, but iconic dinosaur staying putt

"The Orange Dinosaur" looked over traffic at Route 1 Miniature Golf in Saugus.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

A miniature golf course that has long been a staple in the Saugus community is nearing extinction. But the lofty, orange dinosaur figure, which has stood its ground on the property for decades, will live to see another day.

Diana Fay, who has owned Route One Miniature Golf & Batting Cages since 1979, when she took over the business started by her uncle, announced last week that the family-run attraction will officially close its doors — shutting down the batting cages and putting away the putters and multicolored golf balls — on Sept. 25.

The miniature golf site, which includes batting cages and an ice cream hut, called the Dairy Castle, will make way for a new development along the busy stretch of roadway. The Dairy Castle will shut down sooner, serving its last scoops of ice cream this weekend.


“Everything is moving forward and progressing, and we decided that it was time to pick a date,” Fay said in a telephone interview. “We usually stay open until the end of October. But we decided it’s time to go out on a high note. It’s been a wonderful season for us, and people have been so supportive.”

Route One Miniature Golf & Batting Cages is famous not just for its family-fun activities, but also the toothy, fiberglass Tyrannosaurus rex that has guarded the property for 55 years.

Many in Saugus have rallied to keep the dinosaur in the area. Fay said the large and colorful beast will remain on site, “someplace in the new complex.”

“He will find a home,” she said, relieved.

Michael Touchette, a Lynnfield developer, has purchased with a partner the 3-acre property to build 50 apartments, restaurants, and retail space. Touchette also co-owns property adjacent to the golf course, which will feature 206 apartments, two hotels, and additional retail space.


Touchette confirmed Thursday that he would incorporate the dinosaur into the development project.

“One hundred percent,” he told the Globe. “The dinosaur will stay where it is, or go into one of the hotels and have a pitch-and-putt. It’s definitely going to stay.”

Fay, a second-generation owner of the Saugus business, which first opened in 1958, said they had planned to close in November last year, but were able to extend their stay for an additional season, to the delight of her family’s customers.

“Our customers have become our friends, and we are just so grateful to all of those people for allowing us to be in business for all of these years,” she said. “We had a lot of people who came out and gave positive comments to us, who were happy to get one last round in.”

Steve Annear can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.