Meeting Mike: Seaton Jurassic’s manager excited for big opening

Mike Ruiter, manager of Seaton Jurassic

Mike Ruiter, manager of Seaton Jurassic - Credit: Archant

Seaton Jurassic is set to open next month - and promises to take people on a journey back 250 million years, to when life on the Jurassic Coast was very different.

Visitors will be given the unique opportunity to take flight on the centre’s very own time-ship, to be shrunk in size to experience life in a local rockpool and witness the evolution of life on earth.

But who has been charged with making the whole thing happen?

Introducing Mike Ruiter, the manager of Seaton Jurassic.

Born and brought up in Alkmaar in the Netherlands, Mike has travelled across the globe before landing in Devon five years ago.

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“This is the most exciting project I have ever been involved with,” Mike said. “Seaton Jurassic is a place where people can come, explore and travel through time.

“What is not to like? It is an adventure that we hope will change the way people see today’s Jurassic Coast. Ultimately, we want them to discover the fascinating story of this special landscape, its wildlife and its people. If we can do that, then Seaton Jurassic will be a success.”

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Mike’s childhood family holidays across Europe’s great outdoors soon graduated into a passion for the natural world and travel.

This took him around the globe, working in Australia, Croatia and Italy. But it was love that finally brought him to Devon five years ago.

“I met my English partner Clare when working in Australia,” he said.

“She moved back to manage a youth hostel at Salcombe and I followed. Once here, it didn’t take me long to fall in love for a second time – with the Devon countryside.

“I got a job with the Youth Hostel Association and settled in South Devon. Each weekend since I’ve discovered a bit more of the beautiful South West - walking its coast and its moors. It now feels like home.”

Mike, who got to know the Jurassic Coast after managing a youth hostel at Beer, said: “I found the place and its past fascinating.

“Having worked on projects across the UK, the chance of being part of Seaton Jurassic stood out above all other opportunities.”

Now, on the brink of opening, Mike feels a mixture of pride and excitement and there’s one aspect of the visitor attraction which he thinks gives it an extra special ingredient.

“As well as offering a great day out to our visitors, we also feel we’re an important part of the local community,” he said. “Seaton Jurassic came from an idea put forward by local people more than ten years ago and it is they that have helped us to get this far. We like to think the centre is repaying this faith. We’re providing employment to local people, working with more than 70 local volunteers, and we plan to be attracting thousands of visitors to the town, boosting its economy.”

Seaton Jurassic opens on March 26.

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