A long time ago, I heard about this roadside attraction called Bedrock City not far from the Grand Canyon in Arizona. As an avid Flintstones fan, I knew that if I was ever in Arizona, I would need to go and see it. I recently found myself in that position, so I took a path a bit out of my way in order to check this excursion off of my bucket-list.
Today, most kids probably know the Flintstones characters mostly from cereal boxes, vitamins, and various other consumer products that plaster the iconic faces of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble all over them. But I grew up in the 1990s, when the 1960s animated sitcom was having a bit of a resurgence. There was the live-action movie (starring two of my favorite people, Rick Moranis and Rosie O’Donnell) as well as primetime animated specials like “I Yabba-Dabba Do!” and “Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby.” The Flintstones were once again a pop culture hit in the ‘90s, which resulted in shaping my love of them.
The original Flintstones’ Bedrock City in Arizona was built in 1972. The setting of the barren desert is the exact type of place where you would expect the fictional town of Bedrock to exist. The vast, open land creates a unique backdrop for these stone-age buildings. The buildings and set pieces have admittedly seen better days, but it somewhat adds to the charm of the place. I am someone who enjoys urban exploration. For me, to walk the grounds of a place that is lost to time feels somewhat sad and inspiring all at the same time.
When I first arrived, I was the only person exploring the different Bedrock buildings. There were the Flintstones’ and Rubbles’ houses, the town jail, the dentist’s office, grocery store, an iconic brontosaurus slide, and so much more. These concrete buildings are all just sitting there waiting for guests to come inside. Once inside, it’s easy to tell that the harsh weather (and sometimes vandals) has taken its toll on the attraction.
After being there alone for a while and getting ready to head back on the road, another group of people arrived. I can’t imagine that this place is ever busy, but it definitely seems to grab people’s attention as they drive by.
At one point, there was talk of this Bedrock City going away entirely. The location is technically now known as Raptor Ranch. The name changed when it was purchased by new owners in 2019 in order to show off all different sorts of birds. Originally, Bedrock City was to be bulldozed. But the outcry from fans caused the new owners to rethink destroying the attraction, and instead they decided to charge a small fee to enjoy what’s left of it. I’m not sure whether or not the new owners will ever invest in it in order to make the necessary repairs, but it’s still a fun thing to check out if you’re ever nearby.
It’s amazing to think how long “The Flintstones” have remained a part of pop-culture. At one point, they could be found at both Universal Studios Florida and Hollywood in rides and shows. But in addition to that, the iconic stone-age family popped up in all sorts of amusement offerings all over the world. You can still find them to this day if you know where to look, in places like Raptor Ranch and even in a fairly new log ride as part of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi.
Have you ever experienced any Flintstones-themed attractions yourself? Let me know in the comments.
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Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit” and more at DizneyCoastToCoast.com. DePaoli’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent Attractions Magazine.