January 1st

Welcome to This Day in Dinosaurs–a year-long exploration of dinosaurs in science and popular culture.

On this day in dinosaurs, we celebrate the opening of a beloved tourist attraction in Oregon.

On January 1st, 1955, dinophile E.V. Nelson opened Prehistoric Gardens near Port Orford, Oregon. Nelson was an artist and sculptor, who after working as a CPA and owning a mill machinery supply business, decided to spend the rest of his life constructing life-size dinosaur replicas.


After much research and a trip to visit the Smithsonian’s dinosaurs, Nelson began creating his extinct animals in the suitably primeval Oregon rainforest. He would go on to build 23 models over the next 30 years. Nelson’s beloved Brachiosaurus, alone, took 4 years to build and stretches 86 feet long and 46 feet tall.

Prehistoric Gardens/Facebook

If you’re curious about Nelson’s creations, or just want to see some fantastic dinosaur sculptures, Prehistoric Gardens is open and under the direction of Mr. Nelson’s family. If you’ve been to the park, share your photos with us on social media using the hashtag: #TDIDinos

Not enough dinosaurs for you? There are 364 more days on the dinosaurs calendar so check back daily for more Mesozoic musings!

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