Prehistoric Gardens – Port Orford, Oregon - Atlas Obscura

Prehistoric Gardens

Port Orford, Oregon

A collection of colorful dinosaurs hidden in an actual rainforest. 


Oregon’s Prehistoric Gardens is a classic roadside attraction featuring life-sized sculptures of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals in a variety of psychedelic hues.

This collection of concrete monsters was began in 1953 when the attraction’s late creator Ernest Nelson began sculpting size-accurate dinosaurs on his property, and then finally opened to the public as the Prehistoric Gardens in 1955. Nelson traveled to the Smithsonian in NYC and researched fossils to ensure the life-size replicas were as scientifically correct as possible. He would go on to construct 23 dinosaurs in total over the next 30 years. The largest sculpture in the park is the Brachiosaurus, which is an astounding 86 feet long and 46 feet tall! Once known for their bright, playful coloration, the dinosaur sculptures are now a bit faded and weathered, but still exciting for antediluvian enthusiasts nonetheless.

The replicas are scattered along a trail through the surrounding coastal rainforest which convincingly mimics a primordial landscape with its giant ferns and constant damp humidity. 

The Prehistoric Garden is a terrific relic of times gone by, both ancient and modern.

Know Before You Go

Right off of the 101 highway between Port Orford and Gold Beach. You can't miss it!

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August 15, 2013

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