Road Trip Bucket List: Visiting the Cabazon Dinosaurs

Road Trip Bucket List: Visiting the Cabazon Dinosaurs

There is no doubt about it. My introduction to the Cabazon Dinosaurs was through watching Pee Wee’s Big Adventure a million times in Junior High. I loved that movie. So in December of 2016 while roadtripping in California, I was ecstatic to be able to visit the dinosaurs of my youth. (You know what I mean!)

When I arrived, there were tons of people milling around. The parking lot was full and getting pictures without strangers in them proved to be a challenge. That was unexpected. Before I arrived I imagined myself as being the only person there. Turns out – the world’s largest dinosaurs are hard to resist.


The highlight of my stop was being able to walk up inside of Dinny’s belly and buy a couple postcards. When’s the last time you were in the belly of a brontosaurus?

Claude Bell building Dinny:

Original Photo Source: Unknown

Look how much the dino complex has been built up since Pee Wee filmed. Here is a streetview showing generic chain restaurants and nonsense followed by a scene in the movie that highlights how empty everything seemed in the 80s.

Andy chases Pee Wee:

The Wheel Inn Diner is no more. As Curbed LA says, “Large Marge will NEVER SEND ANYONE to the Wheel Inn AGAIN”. It shuttered in 2013. I suppose the remaining EAT sign is a consolation prize.

Image source: Curbed LA

“Come on, Simone. Let’s talk about your big but…”

The Laser Time Podcast posted a blog called 5 Awesome Appearances of the California Dinosaurs which is pretty neat. They dug up pop culture uses of the dinos in movies and print. Definitely check that out!

This stop was a tick on the ole bucket list!

Cabazon Dinosaurs

50770 Seminole Dr
Cabazon, CA 92230

11 Replies to “Road Trip Bucket List: Visiting the Cabazon Dinosaurs”

  1. What the heck?? I just watched Pee Wee’s Big Adventure with my grand daughter last weekend, and she knew all of the dinosaur names. Me, not so much. Pee Wee is timeless.

      1. I was not aware of then new movie. I’ll watch some trailers then make up my mind. To me, Pee Wee is a character frozen in time, and I don’t wanna lose that.

    1. This was a great vid – thanks for sharing it!

      AS an aside, i rode from 29 Palms across the Mojave up to Amboy. It was one of the most incredible days of my life. I’ve never seen anything like that huge ocean of sand.

  2. This part of your ride was especially fun to watch on ig. It’s a drive we did as kids in the back seat so often. My Dad was building a house in Baja bit by bit from the time I was 10. It seemed like every weekend we were driving past the dinosaurs and along the salton sea. I don’t care how asleep we were or what time it was, we woke up to see the the dinosaurs pass by our windows. And plus it meant just another hour to be home. I watched the Burger King get built and now every time we pass by I say in my head “fk’n Burger King” it really ruined the dinosaurs.
    I was thinking about Cabazon just yesterday when I heard the Obamas would be in town. You think they’ll visit? Lol. Thanks for sharing, I always enjoy an outsiders view of Southern California. I learn things and It makes me appreciate what we have a little bit more.
    Great write up.

  3. When asked what my three favorite movies are — ones that I could watch over and over again — Pee Wee’s Big Adventure is one of the three. It’s so rich and textured from beginning to end that there is always something new to see and it keeps me laughing still.

    Glad you were able to make the pilgrimage to see the dinosaurs….

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