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April 27, 2011

The Southwest: Painted Desert Indian Center

Filed under: Infrared, Photography, Southwest United States, United States — anotherheader @ 2:53 pm

Please Stay Off Dinosaur (Color Infrared Image)

Dinosaurs roam the American Southwest.  Or so it appears if drive the region’s scenic roads.  Colored kitschy dinosaur statues are everywhere.  No tourist thoroughfare is complete without a collection of plaster reptilian structures.  Does the University of Arizona Business School teach that prominently displaying a large dinosaur or two or three is the key to promoting a successful business?  To an outsider, selling curios, gas, or petrified rocks appears to require at least one cartoonish dinosaur model.

In any event, a stretch of pastel roadside theropods beats endless miles of billboards and golden arches.  (Though it is hard to compete with the “Judgement Day, May 21 2011, The Bible guarantees it” billboards.)  And fake dinos make for better pictures, particularly in the infrared.

A website catalogs the American giant reptilian statue phenomenon.  I figure since fake dinosaurs are followed on the Internet they must qualify as essential pieces of Americana.  Is it time to add plaster roadside tyrannosaurs to the baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie list?


  1. Hi,
    Where did you see these? I don’t remember seeing any dinosaur replica when we went to the Painted Desert.
    Best regards,

    Comment by Pit — April 29, 2011 @ 1:36 am

    • The Painted Desert Indian Center is along I-40 outside of the park.

      Comment by anotherheader — April 29, 2011 @ 1:56 am

  2. […] we shouldn’t question why the statues are there.  Clearly the scheme, like the plethora of roadside dinosaurs lining highways everywhere, works.  The appeal of the awkwardly unusual is universal.  And, after […]

    Pingback by North Coast: Roadside Attractions « Another Header — June 30, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

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