Just off the highway, deep in the Arizona desert, hides a hidden gem ripe with nostalgia for those who grew up in the 60s. Located near the Grand Canyon is Raptor Ranch, an educational birds of prey conservation area and campground with an unlikely icon.
While guests enjoy the falconry courses, educational programs, and beautiful birds, they may also be surprised by a familiar face nearby… a huge Fred Flintstone cutout stands near the interstate, welcoming guests to Raptor Ranch and, more specifically, the city of Bedrock.
This attraction was created fifty years ago, potentially to capitalize on the then-popularity of the Flintstones and of Route 66 which was no stranger to unusual tourist traps. Unlike a lot of the other route-side attractions, Bedrock City has managed to stay operational all these years later, despite its somewhat secluded location in the desert.
Guests can visit Bedrock every day from 8 AM to sundown for an admission fee of $10 or free if you are camping at Raptor Ranch. Visitors can wander through Fred’s house, Barney’s house, and more while children can climb and play on the dinosaurs and slides.
Along with these playful offerings, visitors are also welcomed to stop by Fred’s Diner for a meal of cheeseburgers, pizza, fries, and dino nuggets any time between 11 AM to 7 PM.
Surprisingly enough, this recreation of the fictional Bedrock City was not the only one operational in the States—in fact, the sister park operated in South Dakota near Mount Rushmore from 1966 to 2015. Unlike Raptor Ranch’s Bedrock, the new owners of the South Dakota location have removed most of the lingering Flintstones memorabilia after the park’s closure and subsequent transformation into a campground.
After the original owner of Bedrock City retired in 2015, Raptor Ranch purchased the surrounding property in order to set up a campsite and educational operations. The purchase came with Bedrock City included, and with the public’s nostalgic love for the Flintstones, the ranch decided to maintain the buildings of Bedrock for the foreseeable future.
As of 2024, the new owners of Bedrock City have plans to restore the stone age homes that are beginning to show their age after years in the dry heat of the Arizona desert.
So if you’re looking for a trip down memory lane, or even just an interesting roadside stop on your trip to the Grand Canyon, consider stepping back in time in Raptor Ranch’s Bedrock City. This little attraction is nostalgic for many people and Raptor Ranch really seems to understand the desire people have to keep this little piece of history up and running so it, too, does not become lost to time.
Have you ever ventured out into the Arizona desert to visit Bedrock City for yourself? If not, would you ever have an interest in going? Why or why not? Let us know your thoughts by leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page.