Flashback to 1987 and I’m sitting in front of my TV/VCR (yes, it was back in the days of videotapes), and I’m watching Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. With wide eyes, I watched as Pee Wee visited dinosaurs in the desert. Dinosaurs in the desert, people. This was long before Jurassic Park had been released, in fact long before the concept had even been introduced into Michael Crichton’s head. Dinosaurs were cool and very much as big as your imagination could make them. I was young, obsessed with everything prehistoric and wanted nothing more than to see these dinosaurs up close and personal. The fact that anyone had taken time to build something to size, and make it available to the general public, had me looking for ways to get out to California for a quick trip – not easy to do as an east coast teenager. It took some time, but dinosaurs were replaced with more age appropriate pursuits and the thought of visiting Pee Wee’s Dinosaurs left my mind completely.
Now, fast forward nearly 30 years and I find myself in a car, making my way to Palm Springs for the day. While en route, it’s suggested we stop in and say hello to the Cabazon Dinosaurs. What are those, you may ask? Well, my mind was a blank. Some dinosaurs in the desert – ok, cool. Yeah, it took me a second to get back to my youth. These were THE dinosaurs in the desert. Inside, my stomach did a flip. It was all coming together. I was getting ready to confront the same dinosaurs that Pee Wee had stood beneath. Many before me had come, seen and perhaps even stopped into the Burger King next door. Yet, somehow I felt like this was a seminal moment for me. I was stepping back in time and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
And yes, the Cabazon dinosaurs were everything you’d expect them to be. One of the giant dinos even has a museum and gift store inside. Now, just to note that this isn’t a place you come and spend an entire day around. It’s a place you stop into on the way to a destination, it isn’t the destination itself. But to drive by the Cabazon dinosaurs without ever stopping in would be a real crime. Sure, they’ve been there since 1964, but that makes the whole experience that much cooler. You really feel like you are stepping back into another era. If you’re headed to Palm Springs for the weekend, it’s the perfect mini step back into a time period that ruled this land.
In short, go to Cabazon Dinosaurs. This is just a sneak peek at what’s available to see while stopping. So many photo ops, folks….