• Prehistoric Garden is a tempered rainforest garden with 23 life-size dinosaur sculptures
• Features species from the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras
Prehistoric Garden is a truly unique roadside attraction in Port Orford. Established in 1955, this is a tempered rainforest garden with 23 life-size dinosaur sculptures from the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. It is a fascinating attraction for the entire family, showing the natural history and unique species used to traverse our planet through water, air, and on the ground a long time ago.
When you arrive here, you will be greeted by a 50-foot-long full-size figure of T-Rex and a huge 85-foot-long Brachiosaurus. The unguided tour will take you to the winding trails of a 33-acre garden surrounded by lush rainforest. You can encounter the largest turtle ever discovered - Archelon, a huge marine reptile - Ichthyosaur, one of the largest flying reptiles - Pteranodon, and much more. Each of the 23 figures is made to be anatomically accurate, true to the size, and has hand-painted information on each of the creatures that existed long before our species.
This is a pet-friendly attraction and dogs are allowed in the garden for free but must always remain on a leash. Make sure to stop by the gift show where you can buy dinosaur-themed souvenirs along with agates and fossils. The garden pathways are wheelchair and stroller accessible.
Ernie "E.V." Nelson was always passionate about natural history and dinosaurs in particular. He was a talented artist and even was invited to work for Walt Disney Studios as a cartoonist, but declined and became an accountant instead to support his family at the time of the Great Depression.
In 1953 Nelson and his wife decided to make the childhood dream come through, sold his accounting business and family home in Eugine, and purchased 77 acres of land on the Oregon coast. To make sure the historical accuracy of his creations, Nelson spent 3 years researching the anatomy of the dinosaurs. He traveled across the US visiting natural history museums and consulting with paleontologists to make the correct models.
Five initial dinosaurs were created in the first 2 years and it took a total of 30 years to create all 23 figures. Ernie "E.V." Nelson ran the Prehistoric Garden up until his death in 1999 at the age of 91. Nowadays, his granddaughter Kiki McGrath runs the park to keep Nelson's dream alive and help visitors learn about the unique natural history of our planet.
Prehistoric Garden open:Year-round from 10am to 5pm in Spring and Fall and 9am to 6pm in Summer; call for winter hours
Address: 36848 US-101, Port Orford, Oregon 97465