Why not combine your love of road trips and dinosaurs and set off across the U.S. to discover these fun dinosaur roadside attractions?”
There’s nothing we love more than a good road trip.
Except maybe the roadside attractions we see along the way.
Somewhere in the 1950s and 1960s when automobiles, and the family road trip, started gaining popularity, highway businesses challenged themselves to draw customers in with quirky attractions. This is where a lot of roadside attractions got their start, including a lot of the roadside dinosaurs.
Keep in mind, a lot of these roadside attractions were built before the Interstates, so they are more commonly found along two-lane highways, which we all know are way more fun anyway.
You especially see a lot of these out west, but if you are on the right road, you can find a roadside dinosaur in practically every region of the United States.
Dinosaur Roadside Attractions to Seek Out on Your Next Road Trip
- If you are traveling along the Gulf Shore of Alabama, the “Dinosaurs in the Woods” attraction near Orange Beach is a great place to stretch your legs. It’s a short walking trail with lifesize dinosaurs scattered throughout the woods. This area is flush with roadside attractions, including the nearby “Giant Sundial” and “Bamahenge.”
- The town of Holbrook sits along I-40/Route 66 right outside Petrified Forest National Park, so naturally, the town has a strong “rocks and dinosaurs” theme going on. There are several dinosaurs scattered around town.
- East of the Grand Canyon, near Cameron Trading Post and Tuba City on the Navajo Reservation, you can visit the site of the Moenave Dinosaur Tracks in a dry riverbed. There are usually Navajo residents who will take you on a tour to the tracks for a small donation.
- Thanks to “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” the Cabazon Dinosaurs off I-10 near Palm Springs maybe some of the most famous roadside dinosaurs in the U.S. You can even climb up the T-Rex and get nice views from between his teeth. His tail used to be a slide, but that closed, unfortunately. If you’re planning a trip to the area, make sure you read this guide on visiting Palm Springs for tips.
- Another California dinosaur attraction is the Galleta Meadows Estate near Borrego Springs. There are over 130 metal sculptures, including dinosaurs scattered across several acres of desert land.
- If you’re traveling along I-95 through Florida, take a detour at Port Orange to Bongoland. Bongoland was a theme park open from 1947 – 1952. Today, it is Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens, but you can still spot a few dinosaurs hanging out.
- If you are passing through Chicago on Lake Shore Drive, pop into the Field Museum to see Sue, one of the largest and best-preserved T-Rex skeletons in the world. Sue was discovered in South Dakota in 1990.
- Just off I-91 near Deerfield, the Rock and Fossil Dinosaur Shop has a Dinosaur Forest. It’s free to explore this outdoor area that has 25 dinosaurs tucked into the woods.
- If you are traveling Highway 23 along Lake Huron in northern Michigan, you’ll find Dinosaur Gardens near Ossineke. Visitors can choose a self-guided walking tour or a guided tour through the gardens, which contain 25 life-size dinosaurs. There’s a miniature golf course, too. Learn more about visiting the Dinosaur Gardens in this post —–> Visit the Ancient Past at Dinosaur Gardens in Ossineke Michigan.
- In Laurel, MD, Dinosaur Park is a real dig site and county park. It’s one of the most important dinosaur sites on the East Coast and is known for a high concentration of dinosaur egg fossils.
- Another Midwest spot where you can see “real” dinosaurs is the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. They have an extensive dinosaur collection and a strong research program still bringing new discoveries to light.
- If you are road tripping along the Oregon Coast on Highway 101, make a stop at Prehistoric Gardens near Ophir. With nearly two dozen dinosaurs, this roadside attraction was opened in 1955. You can still see the dinosaurs today on a walk through the rainforest.
- Wall Drug may be the most well-known roadside attraction, so of course, they have a dinosaur to lure you off the Interstate. The 80-foot dinosaur was built in the 1960s, around the same time the Interstate came through and started diverting traffic.
- See over three dozen lifesize dinosaur sculptures at Backyard Terrors and Dinosaur Park. On the edge of the Cherokee National Forest near Bluff City, this quirky theme park includes a dinosaur park and a haunted Fun House that is open seasonally.
- Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose is a spot where you can literally follow in the footsteps of prehistoric dinosaurs. Footprints were found here in the riverbed and have been mapped at five different sites in the park. Life-size dinosaur sculptures welcome you to the park.
- Vernal, Utah is the gateway to Dinosaur National Monument, an important site where thousands of dinosaur fossils have been found. Vernal is often called Dinosaurland or Dinoland, but it is far from the other amusement park attractions on this list. However, you will find some kitschy dinosaurs around town!
- Over 50 dinosaurs live at Virginia’s Dinosaurland near Winchester. For over 50 years, this roadside attraction has been entertaining traveling families with lifesize dinosaur sculptures.
- Dinosaur World (3 locations – Kentucky, Florida, and Texas)
- These three dinosaur theme parks have hundreds of life-size dinosaurs and fun for the whole family. Dig for fossils and trek through forests filled with dinosaurs. Kentucky Dinosaur World is easy to find, thanks to this dinosaur on I-65!
Looking for more roadside attractions located across the United States? Don’t miss the following:
Over 50 Unique Roadside Attractions in the U.S. to Slam on your Brakes For– This post is packed with roadside attractions throughout the United States that you won’t want to miss!
The Blue Whale of Catoosa on Route 66 – Did you even travel along the Mother Road if you missed this iconic roadside attraction?
A Pet Cemetery for Horses? Why this Roadside Stop along I-75 in Kentucky is a Must!– Located minutes from the Interstate, this is a great stop to take a break on your next road trip along I-75.
© 2019, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.