Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Prehistoic Gardens

The roadside attraction is one of those dying parts of Americana that I truly wish would not fade. Fortunately, Oregon still has a number of still functioning tourist traps featuring everything from dinosaurs, rock gardens, taxidermy displays of exotic hunts, concrete creations, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
The Prehistoric Gardens in Port Orford, Oregon, along Highway 101 is one of those small pull outs that is a no thrills walk through trap featuring glorious scientifically inaccurate dinosaurs. But, it doesn't really matter. Before they released Jurassic Park 3, no one really knew what dinosaurs really looked like anyway, so these concrete and re-bar creations are probably the most lifelike creations that I have ever encountered.

Wait a minute! Bang a Gong! Who is that standing ankle-high to the T-Rex? Why that is the author circa age eight.

The thing that is great about these places is that they aren't commercial. In fact they probably don't make any money, which is a shame. At some point in time an eccentric had an idea. That oddball built a beautiful thing to distract people on what might have been an extremely painful drive without air conditioning or decent talk radio (let alone NPR). After the eccentric died it became the responsibility, the burden of someone else to keep these places alive whether they wanted to or not.

Personally, I would love to own a Pacific rain forest filled with dinosaurs. Hell, they could be made of cream cheese, even though I doubt they would have nearly the longevity that these one-ton sculptures have. Actually scratch that idea, rain + life-size dinosaur sculptures made of cream cheese= really icky mess.

Oh, and if dinosaurs don't interest you. There is even a moonshiners "cave" on the grounds that features a brief history of prohibition era hooch making in the state of Oregon. Given that this place is in the middle of nowhere, I don't really think there would have been much of a problem with concealing the making of liquor. I can't imagine a great number of g-men coming out to the Oregon coast looking for moonshiners, but I have known to be incorrect in the past. But if you do need to protect such an operation, might as well have dinosaurs protecting it right?
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