Travel Spotlight: Port Orford’s Prehistoric Gardens

photo by Gary Randall

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.



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