Claude Bell’s Dinosaur

Claude Bell’s Dinosaur

Believe it or not inside this giant Apatosaurus is a gift shop. Inside we asked “Why is it here?”. The story of these giant dinosaurs is all about a restaurant that used to stand here in Cabazon.

Back in the 60s, what better way to get families to stop at your restaurant than to have two giant dinosaurs outside? “Dad, dad, let’s stop there to see the T-Rex”. So these dinos are a pretty impressive case study in point-of-sale merchandising.

The owner of the Wheel Inn restaurant was a former sculptor and theme park artist Claude Bell, who created the 46 m long Apatosaurus (Dinny) and the 20 m tall Tyrannosaurus Rex (Mr Rex) over a 22 year period.

His original vision for Dinny was for the dinosaur’s eyes to glow and mouth to spit fire at night, saying, “It’ll scare the dickens out of a lot of people driving up over the pass.” These two features, however, were not added.

Where the Wheel Inn used to be is now a Burger King.


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