Posted by: Brad Nixon | February 15, 2010

BIG Roadside Attraction

Morongo bronto Brad Nixon 2382 (640x480)

How can you FAIL to stop? On your other trips, you stopped at Wall Drug in South Dakota. You Saw Seven States from Lookout Mountain. You pulled off to the side of the road to look at the deteriorating Cadillac Ranch in Texas. If you can’t exit for 20 minutes to look at a 150-foot Apatosaurus, you’re on a business trip, not a vacation. (Click on photos for larger images.)

Between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, Interstate 10 threads through the Banning Pass at a place called Cabazon. To your south is San Jacinto Peak  (10,834′), and to the north, San Gorgonio (11,503′), both thrillingly snow-capped at this time of year. These also are two of the most “prominent” peaks in California, because they rise directly from a relatively low elevation. What better place for humans to decide to compete for the attention of zillions of motorists in order to draw traffic to a restaurant? Hmm … but what to do?

Morongo T Rex Brad Nixon 2380 (640x588)

Hey! What about giant dinosaurs? And, make one of them so enormous that the gift shop is inside it! And so they did.

There’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex, several times larger than life. They also have an Apatosaurus (which was probably called a Brontosaurus when it was first built — Bronto changed his name). That’s him (her?) above. Yes, the gift shop for the place is inside the Apatosaurus, which is about 150 feet long.

These days, it’s likely that the giant Morongo Casino nearby draws more people — certainly it compels them to spend more money than do the dinosaurs. But you can go to a casino almost anywhere, at least in the American west. Outsized dinosaurs, though. THOSE are worth stopping for.

HERE is their Web site. (Note, turn down your volume setting first!)

A caveat: the articles by “Scientists” (their capitalization) in the “About Us” section of that site are straightforward disagreements with the validity of theories of evolution. “Under Western Skies” does not endorse that website’s point of view. We simply like dinosaurs. The good news is that if you stop to visit, you can view the dinos from the parking lot without a fee, and you only get subjected to the anti-evolutionary message if you pay to enter the museum. Talk about natural selection!

Later this week, more from this recent visit to Palm Springs, with scenery both natural and man-made.

© Brad Nixon 2010, 2017

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