Galleta Meadows is a unique sculpture park of the Anza Borrego Desert, filled with dozens of metal creatures that supposedly inhabited the area millions of years ago.
The Anza Borrego Desert isn’t the most hospitable place on the North American continent, and it’s definitely not where you’d expect to find an outdoor art exhibit like Galleta Meadows. Owned by multimillionaire Dennis Avery (as in Avery office supplies), this unusual tourist attraction is a desert creature park open to anyone brave enough to face the desert and the unbearable heat that comes with it.
The story of Galleta Meadows began in the 90’s, when Avery decided to invest some of his fortune in a vast territory in Borrego Springs. Ho got it for an “uncontestable price” but had no idea of how he was going to use it, so he put no barbwire around it and no “Private Property” signs. Later, he built a winter residence, followed by a tourist resort, a country club and a golf course, but he needed something unique to attract tourist to his newly opened facilities.
Having learned that the surrounding area had great archeological value, containing fossil vestiges from Pliocene, Pleistocene, and Miocene, Avery decided to bet on prehistoric creatures to lure tourists. He commissioned Mexican artist Ricardo Arroyo Breceda to create metal sculptures of dinosaurs and other creatures that might have lived in the area, and scatter them across Galleta Meadows. Fast forward to present day, the metal menagerie envisioned by Dennis Avery and crafted by Breceda features all kinds of animals, from mammoths, to saber-toothed tigers, wild horses, turtles and even dinosaurs.
The sculptures of Galleta Meadows are made of scrap metal and wire, which Ricardo Breceda welds together and pounds into shape using hammers and sledgehammers. Some of them, like the elephants and Gomphotherium are up to 4 meters tall.