Delight your family in a magical treasure: dinosaur gardens.
I stumbled upon a dinosaur garden—commonly a succulent garden filled with dinosaur figurines—on an afternoon walk with my toddler. She was so amused and entranced with the creatures, making up storylines between the orange dinosaur and the blue one. It was so fun to watch. We walked home in the best of moods.
Since then, our family has discovered more dinosaur gardens, similar to fairy gardens. Each time, my kids are overwhelmed with joy. These little treasures are sprinkled throughout East Bay neighborhoods. I find myself constantly scanning yards, craving to find more dinosaur gardens because they make us that happy. It’s the little things, folks!
Here’s a list of several dinosaur gardens and dinosaur statues we’ve found, but there are sure to be more. Tell us about your discoveries. Share your finds in the comments section! (I hope it goes without saying that these dinosaur gardens and statues are part of someone’s property, so please remember to be respectful when visiting and seeking out these little gems.)
- Corner of McGee Avenue and Jaynes Street: Called the Dinosaur Playground, this garden is quite the sight. The homeowner’s entire side yard is filled with dinosaurs but also features other mythical creatures like unicorns and dragons. Visit this dinosaur garden the next time you’re at Totland—it’s just three blocks away.
- 1400 Block of Ada Street: Across from Ruth Acty Elementary School, there’s a little dinosaur garden in the yard of what my kids affectionately call “The Zebra House”. (It makes sense when you visit.) This location is a 5-minute walk to Cedar Rose Park.
- 1200 Block of Monterey Street: Up the hill from Monterey Market sits what I’d call a zoo garden. There are dinosaurs, birds, mammals, and more filling this yard. It’s an easy place to play I Spy. Look on the west side of the street to find it. King Park and Jewel’s Terrace Park are nearby or grab a snack along Hopkins Avenue.
- Corner of Ninth Street and Virginia Street: Visit a toddler-sized dinosaur statue that reminds me of Land Before Time’s Littlefoot. This prehistoric work-of-art is down the street from James Kenney Park or a 10-minute walk to shops on Fourth Street.
- Corner of Sonia Street and Modoc Avenue: Not far from the South Entrance of Lake Temescal Regional Park, sits a cute little dinosaur garden that’s also filled with other adorable animals and planters.
- Corner of Sand Beach Road and Sand Beach Place: Near Robert Crown State Beach sits a yard with three dinosaur statues. These are set back from the street, yet sizable. See if your little one can spot them as you walk past.
- Annie’s Annuals & Perennials: Look for three dinosaur statues in this Richmond-based plant nursery. While you’re in the area, visit the fairies in Point Richmond.
Make Your Own Succulent Dinosaur Garden
To create your own little oasis for tiny dinosaurs and the foliage they need to survive, it can be as easy as building an adventurous scene in a corner of your outside space. Work with what you have. I have a tiny plot of land adjacent to the sidewalk so I can put my Jurassic Parklet near foot traffic. I have the space for a couple of succulents and only need to add the dino inhabitants.
Visit Dinosaurs Beyond the East Bay’s yards and gardens
- Valley Life Sciences Building, Berkeley: Part of the university, the giant skeleton in the lobby of the academic building can be part of a fun day around the UC Berkley campus for kids.
- California Academy of Science, San Francisco: A T. Rex skeleton greets you at Cal Academy (currently sporting a pandemic-appropriate mask). Plus, you can visit with the albino alligator, a living relative of dinosaurs.
- Cabazon Dinosaurs: Not too far from Palm Springs, Cabazon has an amazing outdoor display of dinosaurs. This is definitely worth a side trip if your family is in the area.
Fun Fact: these creatures were featured in the movie Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Website >