While other families in the 1950s were running out to the suburbs, E.V. “Ernie” Nelson dreamed of dinosaurs. He left his life as a mill owner in Eugene, packed up his family and drove until he found a credible prehistoric setting for the large-scale beasts he would build by hand. Nelson surrounded himself with scientific journals and began building over the next thirty years. The eighty-six-foot-long Brachiosaurus alone took four years to complete. On January 1, 1955, Prehistoric Gardens (prehistoricgardens.com) opened in the coastal rainforest near Port Orford. It’s still worth the stop.