As a kid, I loved Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. Especially the scene where Pee-wee and Simone visit a pair of gargantuan dinosaur statues in the California desert.
What can I say? I loved dinosaurs growing up and, while it has been more than a few years since I last revisited that Tim Burton classic, it’s one of the scenes from my childhood that continues to live rent-free up in my head all these years later.
Hence, when the opportunity arose to write a piece about the location of the famed Pee-wee Herman Dinosaurs, I just couldn’t say no. So,
Where Are The Pee-wee Herman Dinosaurs?
Both of the dinosaur statues featured in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure are part of a roadside attraction in Cabazon, California, just west of Palm Springs.
Welcome To Cabazon
Appropriately known as the Cabazon Dinosaurs, both Dinny, a 150-foot-long Brontosaurus, and Mr. Rex, a 65-foot-tall Tyrannosaurus rex, are visible from the freeway to travelers driving along Interstate 10.
In addition to appearing in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, both of the concrete and steel statues have shown up in movies like The Wizard and music videos for bands such as Oasis and Tears For Fears.
As part of a tribute in honor of Paul Reubens, who passed away on July 30th, 2023, the staff at the Cabazon Dinosaur Park arranged to have Mr. Rex painted up in a grey suit and red bow tie in homage to the late comedian’s most popular character.
Building A Dinosaur
Sculptor and theme park artist Claude Bell began construction on the dinosaur statues in 1964. Prior to this, Walter Knott would hire him to create concrete sculptures of figures sitting on the benches at Knott’s Berry Farm in 1947.
Bell hoped that the dinosaurs could be used as a means to attract more customers to his nearby restaurant, The Wheel Inn – which remained open from 1958 to 2013. Bell completed Dinny in 1975, while work on Mr. Rex wrapped up in 1986.
Bell would pass away at the age of 91 in 1988 and his family would end up selling the property in the mid-1990s. The site would eventually be transformed into a museum in 2005.
Today, Dinny and Mr. Rex reside as part of the Cabazon Dinosaur Park alongside some different 70 prehistoric pals – including an Apatosaurus with a gift shop in its belly!
Pay Them A Visit
Now one of the most popular roadside attractions in North America, fans can visit Dinny and Mr. Rex at the Cabazon Dinosaur Park. Admission is priced at $15 USD for adults, $13 USD for children, and $11 USD for seniors and members of the military.
The park is open to the public Monday to Sunday from 9am until 7pm, with ticket sales stopping each day at 6:30 pm. Additionally, the park is open on holidays, with the exception of Christmas Day, while event, party, and field trip bookings are available by phone or email.
As previously mentioned, Mr. Rex currently stands dressed in homage to Paul Reubens. This tribute will continue straight through to October 2023, with non-commercial photos free of charge. However, those hoping to sit in Mr. Rex’s mouth must purchase admission to the museum.
So, now you know exactly where the Pee-wee Herman’s Dinosaurs are located!
A staple of the pop culture landscape for some 38 years, both Dinny and Mr. Rex continue to beckon cross-country sightseers to Cabazon each day with toothy grins and open arms – hopefully with many more Big Adventures to come!