Prehistoric Gardens & the Oregon Coast

Last week, my hubby and I took a 4-day road trip from Portland, Oregon almost all the way to the California border. Our ultimate goal was to enjoy the beautiful views.

We also wanted to enjoy a moment of nostalgia and visit a little roadside attraction that seemed magical to us when we were very young children. Built in the 1950’s when middle-class America was starting to travel, it now shows just how much more difficult it is to impress us.

The first and last night we stayed in Lincoln City at the Overlook Hotel, one of our favorite places to stay.

The second day we headed for Port Orford to visit the Prehistoric Gardens. A four hour trip for a 1/2 hour experience.

Of course, that four hour drive WAS the real experience.

I think the area between Gold Beach and Florence has some of the most beautiful views in the world. The weather is usually cool to cold and misty or overcast … but always beautiful!

At the Prehistoric Gardens, they had a new statue — a raptor! That’s the one on the left. That’s my hubby on the right!


There was some pretty ferocious-looking wildlife wandering around, too!

I’d obviously forgotten my road trip skills, because I didn’t think to take notes, and my memory is not what it used to be. Now, I’m not sure exactly what dinosaurs I took photos of. Like this guy. He’s either a Pterodactyl or a Pteranodon. The main difference between the two are that they lived in different times periods, and pterodactyls had teeth while pteranodons didn’t. If only this guy would open his mouth!

Anybody remember the ‘Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek’ by Evelyn Stibley Lampman. I read that book a 1000 times. Okay, it was probably only a 100 times.

One of my clearest memories of childhood is of seeing this display, and asking my Mom if it was real. It was almost like seeing this with two heads – the one of childhood memory, and the more jaded one of today.

Many of the statues were too large for me to capture in one photo. I think this was a plesiosaur …

… one of the seafaring reptiles that lived at the same time as the dinosaurs, but isn’t considered a dinosaur.

This brontosaurus’s head and shoulders can be seen from the road, looming over the fence. I was crushed when they decided the brontosaurus was actually apatosaurus, but now the paleontologists think they may be different species or one is a sub-species of the other.

I totally can’t remember what this guy is except that he is probably one of the Terror Birds. He’s pretty cool looking though. (Actually, looking through all my photos, I got a picture of the identifying sign – this is Diatryma, indeed a terror bird. However, it is now believed that it was herbivorous or maybe omnivorous, eating clams and small animals at the most).

That’s all the dinosaurs I’ll share today. There are 23 statues at the Prehistoric Gardens. They were built to measurements from actual dinosaur skeletons, though today we think think they stood and looked different than it was believed back then.

It took us about 1/2 an hour to walk through. We didn’t read the informational signs that can be found throughout the walk (and we should have). Depending on your level of interest, you could probably speed through in 15 minutes or spend hours.

You aren’t allowed to touch the dinosaurs, unfortunately. I was sternly admonished not to let my husband climb the fence and try to ride any of them. This was done with a smile, but I think the lady selling the tickets was serious about not riding them, lol.

If you’re interested, you can see their website here.

We spent our second night just outside Gold Beach, where the Rogue River runs into the ocean.

Once again, I’m mad at myself. There was a huge bush full of these beautiful flowers, and I don’t know what they are. Now mind you, I have an app on my phone that is made just for these occasions. But did I think to use it? Noooooo. Not until I was home did I think of it. I love the beautiful blend of colors in these petals.

When we left the next morning around 08:30 or so we went in to Gold Beach for breakfast — only to discover none of restaurants was open yet. We had to drive clear to Bandon, about an hour away, to find one that was serving breakfast. Of course, with stops for photos, road work, and wandering the beach, it took about 3 hours.

We was hungry by the time we ate!

We passed most of the same scenery, but this time there was a strange effect going on. I wasn’t able to capture it well in my photos, but there was a strip of almost-fluorescent blue in the sky. It reflected here and there in the gray ocean water, causing blue sparkles. Very pretty, and rather eerie. I kept thinking if this were a movie, disaster of some kind would be happening soon.

Fortunately, it wasn’t a movie!

The effect started just outside Gold Beach.

It continued as we drove along the coast, ending somewhere around Yachats. About 150 miles.

We spent another night in Lincoln City, and then headed for home. All in all, a relaxing and satisfying road trip.

And I got lots of reference photos for painting!

Published by Life Imitates Doodles Art, Reviews & Tutorials

Artist Ambassador for Zebra Pens. I'm a self-taught artist who dances about with all sorts of artistic mediums. My main loves are Watercolor, Zentangle and Ballpoint pen. The subjects of my work are many and varied and change at whim. I'm a little bit crazy, but doesn't that come with being an artist? At my Life Imitates Doodles Blog, I post a list of resource links for Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways two times a week. I also write reviews, hold giveaways and share my art work.

12 thoughts on “Prehistoric Gardens & the Oregon Coast

  1. That terror bird looks like something from The Flintsones. I don’t recognize it otherwise. I love the dinosaurs. Thanks for the pictures. Beautiful landscape and scenery shots. Glad you were able to get away and have a great few days.

    1. Thank you, Alice. It turns out that I did get a photo of the identifying sign, and this is Diatryma. Because of it’s huge size, it was originally believed to be a ravenous hunter but now is believed to have been herbivorous or at the least omnivorous but eating only smalls animals.

  2. Gorgeous photos…you really captured the misty, elegant coastline. I think the flower is a lace-cap hydrangea. And as for the dinosaurs, if my twin grandson’s were here they would regale you with details about EVERY ERA and species of known dinosaurs! ha. They keep correcting me, saying “Grandma, they don’t call them that anymore!” ha. Tell your husband, I could actually tell the difference between the raptor and the husband! 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing your trip. It was so interesting to read about the area and what you did. The lace-cap hydrangea has become my new favorite flower♥

  4. Thanks for the road trip, Sandra!!! The photos are wonderful and look forward to seeing what you will paint! Ah, I needed this trip!!

  5. Beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing your getaway with us!
    Hugs and best wishes.

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