November 2, 2016
One of the great pleasures of driving in America is stumbling upon one of the quirky Roadside Attractions, taking you back to their heyday in the 1950s and 60s. Of course Oregon’s dog-friendly Prehistoric Gardens takes you back way further than that – about 70 million years…
You can see this fella from the 101/Oregon Coast Highway and once on the trail there are 22 more enormous replicas, ranging from the flying Pteranadon with a wingspan of 27 feet to the massive Brachiosaurus towering 46 feet high (that whopper took 4 years to complete!) Better yet, as you gasp you are inhaling the freshest of air…
The eco-friendly, dog-friendly Prehistoric Gardens are set halfway between Gold Beach and Port Orford and make for a wonderfully quirky alternative to the usual Department of Transportation rest stops. As you meander amidst the fern-ruffled rainforest you will see that all wildlife flourishes here – even the common skunk cabbage grows outsize tropical leaves. This made it the perfect setting for artist and dinosaur enthusiast Ernie Nelson to create his dream attraction, which has been welcoming visitors since 1955.
I was particularly intrigued by the ‘dog-jawed’ Cynognathus but Bodie was less enamored and had a general ‘we are not amused’ look on his furry face as we walked the paths and series of wooden bridges.
He’s behind you!
Amazingly Bodie didn’t bark at any of the beasties, just gave them a wary sniff…
IN CONCLUSION: Yabba-dabba-do visit this is a fun pit-stop – you can walk the trail in 20 minutes but allow extra time for pics and perusing the informative signs. (Did you know the Stegosaurus had a brain the size of a peanut?)
DOG-FRIENDLY PREHISTORIC GARDENS
ADMISSION: Adults $12, $8 Children $8 (3-12), Seniors $10, Littlefoots & Dogs FREE
HOURS: 10am to 5pm – Spring/Fall 9am to 6pm – Summer
ADDRESS: 36848 Highway 101 South, Port Orford, OR 97465