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The Cabazon Dinosaurs: A Surprise in the Desert

For more photos of Dinny and Mr. Rex, explore the Cabazon Dinosaurs location page.

For any adventurous road-tripper making the 157-kilometer (97.5-mile) drive between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, California, there are three surefire signs that you’re on your way: vast expanses of desert, fields of industrial windmills—and dinosaurs.

Dinny the Dinosaur and her companion, Mr. Rex, tower over the horizon of Cabazon, California. The pair were created by sculptor Claude K. Belle as a roadside wonder to attract customers to his Wheel Inn Restaurant located beneath their feet. Belle led the project without the help of external companies, opting instead to work with a few friends to complete his vision.

Dinny, an Apatosaurus, came first in 1981, built from salvaged interstate materials over the course of 11 years. In all, she measures 46 meters (150 feet) in length and stretches 14 meters (45 feet) into the sky. Mr. Rex, who is slightly taller at 20 meters (65 feet) came next in 1986. Made from concrete and steel, both dinosaurs weigh more than 100 tons each.

In addition to their photogenic exteriors, the dinos were designed as hollow structures that visitors can explore. Dinny’s belly contains a gift shop and adventurous Instagrammers can scale Mr. Rex for a shot of the desert horizon through the Tyrannosaurus’s mouth.

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