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Best of the Worst Roadside Dinosaurs

From New York to California, America's roads are haunted by bad dinosaurs

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Dinosaur, Colorado's bizarre, long-snouted Triceratops. Photo by author.

Last week I asked you submit your favorite atrocious roadside dinosaurs. While the sculptures along the main drag of Dinosaur, Colorado come close to the top of the list, my vote last week went to the ugly, ugly dinosaurs outside Stewart’s Petrified Wood near Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park. Readers sent in a few additional contenders for the title.

Photo by Mark Ryan.

Reader Mark Ryan sent in this sad, decaying dinosaur that stands near Interstate 15 in the vicinity of Victorville, California. No wonder the dinosaur needs those metal rods to support itself—its legs look like they’re made of cooked noodles.

Cowboys and dinosaurs, spotted in Natural Bridge, Virginia. Photo courtesy Kathy Krein.

A regular favorite of Dinosaur Tracking readers is the truly strange Dinosaur Kingdom in Natural Bridge, Virginia. Suggested as a top choice for weird dinosaurs by reader Laura Wilson, this tourist trap features a peculiar southern mash-up of dinosaurs and the Civil War—Union Soldiers are chomped on and terrorized by Mesozoic monstrosities. This particular shot, sent in last year by Kathy Krein, features a rather surprised looking cowboy who looks as if he’s only just begun to realize that riding a deinonychosaur was a horrible decision.

Photo by Kelly Enright.

Reader Kelly Enright sent in a set of several dinosaurian abominations from around the country. This one, complete with glowing eyes, stands guard over Goony Golf in New York.

Photo by Kelly Enright.

While not actually a dinosaur, this boxy mosasaur outside Big Mike’s Rocks & Gifts in Kentucky deserves an honorable mention, especially since the poor thing is stranded hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean.

Photo by Kelly Enright.

While not the absolute worst dinosaur I have ever seen, this Tyrannosaurus at the entrance to Kentucky’s Dinosaur World is one of the creepiest. So if the head is up there, and the legs are on either side, what part of the dinosaur am I walking into, exactly?

Photo by Kelly Enright.

We may have a new winner! While this automotive Triceratops—I think?—from Hanksville, Utah does win some bonus points for recycling, my first thought when I opened the image was “Oh geez! Kill it with fire!” This dinosaur is a junkyard nightmare, and surely a top contender for the worst roadside dinosaur ever.

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About Brian Switek
Brian Switek

Brian Switek is a freelance science writer specializing in evolution, paleontology, and natural history. He writes regularly for National Geographic's Phenomena blog as Laelaps.

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