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Walking Tour: Jurupa Dinosaurs

January 31, 2010

Wow ... there's a mammoth over yonder!

After the Aloe Walk at the Jurupa Mountains Cultural Center, I was able to finally take pictures of the terrific, and huge, dinosaurs on the grounds. I’ve been wanting to bag this prehistoric quarry for some time. I loved the rusted steel dino at the entry to the center, and others in common areas near both the museum and the nursery, but I really wanted shots of the dinos I could only see bits and pieces of up the hill behind the nursery, called the Dinosaur Mesa. And I got them today! (I think this is when I lost the memory card with the aloe walk pics: too excited, I got careless when switching them out.) Taking the walk up the hill I could finally see clearly what had only been hinted at from a distance.

A prehistoric roundelay

After passing the enormous pink/turquoise hugely-finned creature at the top of the hill, I spy a gang of dinosaurs having an energetic pow-wow! There are polychromed dinos, rusted steel horned dinos, even a pterodactyl lookalike screeching atop a hill. And, I love them all. As I noted in the Big News post, what these dinos lack in anatomical exactness they more than make up in personality. I know the dinosaurs are part of the educational tours provided by the JMCC, that students combine learning about the dinosaurs with rock collecting, and that’s terrific, but my interest in the dinos stems from my love of folk and naive art. I think they’re amazing examples of this type of art. In the cactus garden area, there are two anatomically correct Spielbergian raptors, snapping at each other ferociously, but they aren’t nearly as interesting to me as these mesa dwellers. For me perfection is boring. I’ll take artistic interpretation and poetic license any day.

Steely stylization

The artists who created these life-sized saurians have embued them with stylized features that take liberties with their proportions, attributes and anatomies … and I think they’re perfection as a result. They seem to be kvetching, sniping and griping, and doing it with gusto. So much more interesting than just snarling food hunters and fighters. These guys seem more like deli denizens to me.

Say what?!

Another view of the humongous pink-y finned sentry at the top of Dinosaur Plateau shows how its back projection echoes the shape of the hill behind. The toothy, gaping mouth looks more incredulous than voracious. Despite its enormity, the overall look of this example is more papier maché than reptilian. It’s like a school art project magnified and it’s fantastic!

"It ain't easy ..."

Also looking like a gargantuan art project, this glum bronto (or, whatever the kids are calling them these days) seems to pose resignedly for its portrait. Maybe it’s despondent over having to drag such a long, unwieldy tail behind it, while standing on four knee-less legs? Whatever, it’s not saying …


Part cow, part armadillo, this guy seems to be saying “hey, you guys, wait up!” The dino who can’t seem to get any respect from the rest of the gang, this moomadillosaurus just desperately wants to be wanted. I think this specimen would make a fitting addition to the Rancho’s rear landscape … wonder if Paul and I could sneak it out of the Center without anyone noticing? Let’s leave the plateau and visit two striking dinos near the Center’s Earth and Science Museum …

Is the sign necessary?

Like the offspring of a Shar Pei and a T-rex (a T-Pei?) this grump’s bark is worse than its bite. If he really was such a tough guy would the sign really be necessary? The use of what looks like carved concrete that creates the incredible skin of this dino is impressive. I’d love to know the technique used in its creation and I wonder if it was created on-site? Further investigation is in order …

Confounding hybrid

Finally, to the tune of ‘Pomp and Circumstance’, we reveal a confoundingly delightful hybrid dino I’m calling the Triceratopped-by-Lincoln. Resplendent in rusted steel, Honest Abe’s top half seems to be dourly inviting you to pull its finger, while the saurian lower half wonders if you will. Creativity at its highest level, it illustrates vividy what I love most about folk art: it’s can-do meets make-d0 — and does — without worrying about propriety and logic. I can’t begin to express how much I love this piece, what a find!

Check the JMCC website here for field trip and tour details. The Center’s Museum features the largest collection of Chinese fossilized dinosaur eggs in North America, so be sure and check that out. Next time you’re traveling the 60 Freeway turn at the mammoth on the hill and stop in at the JMCC. A variety of educational opportunities, singular sightseeing and great values on succulents and cacti await you!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2010 10:02 pm

    Possibly my favorite post ever. I can’t wait for you to give me a tour of YOUR Riverside!

  2. July 11, 2011 1:57 am

    Fabulous! The only reason I ever take that stretch of the 60 is to get a glimpse of the mammoth.
    And the 215 in Perris…oh how I want several of those dinos in my yard.
    The Lincoln-hybrid if it were seen from the other side of the fence reminds me of a statue on I-80 in Laramie Wyoming. We used to call it Lincoln in the shower.

    I am enjoying catching up on all your posts now that I have discovered your blog. Makes me glad to live in Riverside!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      July 11, 2011 2:00 am

      Hey, Kim, I have to admit looking back on my posts is fun for me, too… and like you say, it makes me glad to live here. I’m glad you’re enjoying going back in (my) time here!


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