Of course, the legendary Grand Canyon and its equally iconic cross-country road trippin' partner, Arizona's Interstate 40 - commonly known as the historic Route 66 - are popular attractions in this part of the US. Masses of visitors flock to experience these globally famed US icons on a worldwide scale, but many don't know of the amusing hidden gem just a short journey from the canyon - one that kids and adults alike adore.
Travelers in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon's South Rim and highway cruisers heading along Route 66 should keep an eye out for one of the country's most unique roadside attractions, where Instagrammable scenes and fun things to do add an entertaining flair to the road ahead. If fantastic photo opportunities and a trip down childhood memory lane sound are just what the doctor ordered, consider adding Bedrock City itself to the itinerary for the ultimate dose of nostalgic feels.
Fred and Barney fans, come gather, for this quirky, vintage dot on the map is set in stone to become one of the most amusing Northern Arizona landmarks for re-living precious fragments of childhood memories - and it's Paleolithic in nature.
What Is The Flintstones Park?
Bedrock City - sometimes referred to as Flintstones Park - was built by Francis Jerome Speckels and first opened its doors in 1972. It was a historic amusement park based on the popular namesake cartoon, The Flintstones. A world-famous hit kids' show, The Flintstones aired on primetime television between 1960 and 1966, with reruns continuing for several decades - even in the present day, episodes of the series are still broadcasted by a number of global networks.
Boasting colorful buildings in bright hues, cartoon-like Paleolithic characters, and typical Flintstones vehicles with rock wheels, Bedrock City is a real-life representation and reconstruction of the much-loved TV show that preserves its legacy in a wholesome way; so many families over the amassed decades have enjoyed this special piece of Arizona history, with generations of children getting to savor the likeness of their favorite prehistoric animated characters' home setting for themselves - not just on the screen.
Is Bedrock City Open?
Similar Bedrock City attractions also existed near Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, which opened in 1966 and closed its gates for good in 2015. However, Flintstones fanatics can still visit Bedrock City in Arizona - which is now the only remaining place on the planet to walk through the fictional home of America's much-loved ancient cartoon characters. Still, it wasn't smooth-sailing, and the beloved Bedrock was almost lost - almost.
After five decades, The Flintstones theme park of Bedrock City was sold in 2019 to Troy Morris and Ron Brown, who purchased the property after its original owner decided to retire. The pair had plans to tear it down and replace it with their own, Raptor Ranch - a wild bird refuge for fascinating winged creatures such as eagles, falcons, owls, hawks, and many others. And they did just that, Morris and Brown successfully opened their fantastic birds of prey park, where visitors can watch demonstrations, and flight shows, and learn all about wildlife conservation, raptors, and these incredible animals from knowledgeable experts.
However, in addition to Raptor Ranch, a number of tourists kept on coming to visit the famous Flintstones roadside realm, which was enough persuasion for the new management to decide to keep Bedrock City open indefinitely alongside their newly established birds of prey operation. The result? Raptor Ranch is a wonderful blend of wildlife and throwbacks to childhood cartoons and is worthy of a stop on the way to or from the Grand Canyon. Plus, it's not just 'yabba-Dabba-doos' and 'cuck-kaw!' cries to discover here; Raptor Ranch also boasts one of the closest campsites to the Grand Canyon that travelers will find outside the park's boundaries, where overnight accommodation for campers is certainly on the cards.
What Can You Do In Bedrock City?
Visitors of the real Bedrock City can't expect a pre-packaged, manufactured experience like that to be had at the United States' top amusement parks, such as Disney and Universal Studios. No, instead, fans of Barney and friends can reminisce a childhood show, touring the dusty streets of Bedrock City while soaking up a quirky yet familiar atmosphere - one that captures the fun essence of the old Hanna and Barbera cartoon as authentically as what might be possible.
When park-goers have relished the excitement of Raptor Ranch and its epic birds of prey, they can finalize the day by waltzing through Bedrock's iconic landmarks that are bound to evoke genuine feelings of nostalgia - if not, at least some fun and plenty of photo ops. From the prehistoric market, Bedrock School, and primitive train rides to Bedrock Post Office, the rudimentary Bedrock Jail, and Bedrock's Beauty Salon, the fictional Old Stone Age town's famous features are all there in concrete or wooden form - adding to the place's paleo-period charm, of course.
Visitors can also check out Fred and Wilma's house in addition to many other Flintstones-themed replica homes in vibrant cartoon-esque colors, each complete with caveman furnishings that remain faithful to the original series. Heck, there are even quintessential stone-and-rock Flintstones vehicles on display and peppered across Bedrock, although whether they are indeed drivable is questionable - naturally. Set on three whole acres of desert landscape, other highlights to be found include life-sized reproductions of adored fan favorites, such as Fred, Wilma, Barney, Barney, Betty, and Dino, as well as stone-age characters and dinosaurs dotted about the land.
Undeniably, no visit to Bedrock would be fulfilled without stopping by Fred's Diner for some hearty grub, where American dishes with prehistoric flavors are served with a side order of nostalgia and love. While there are no 'Bronto burgers' or 'brontosaurus ribs' on the menu, the funky eatery makes up for the fact with its tasty US treats, such as hot dogs, burgers, chicken tenders, pizza, onion ring baskets, quesadillas, and soft-serve ice creams.
How Far Is Raptor Ranch And Bedrock City From The Grand Canyon?
Flintstones fans in the Grand Canyon National Park area are in luck; Raptor Ranch and its historic counterpart of Bedrock City are a mere 24 miles or around half an hour's drive from the South Rim Entrance, which means there's no excuse not to drop in and support this brilliant Arizona attraction. It's easy to spot en route, too - just look out for the massive Flintstones signs!
Can You Stay Overnight At Bedrock City?
Visitors of the Grand Canyon, Bedrock City, and Raptor Ranch have ample choice when it comes to accommodation. They can stay at the Grand Canyon or in the cities nearby, such as Flagstaff, Williams, or Tusayan. However, for the best Flintstones and Raptor experience, there's the Raptor Ranch Campground and RV Park, where campers can stay overnight in a tent, RV, or travel trailer for a small fee - a flat price that handily includes admission to Bedrock City, raptor flight demonstrations, WiFi, laundry room access, and campfire rings.
As for the campsite itself, amenities include an on-site convenience store, showers, a gift shop, and overflow parking. Ultimately, with 32 RV sites and over 25 tent sites, there's no lack of room for folks that want to enjoy a budget-friendly night's sleep just 20 minutes from the Grand Canyon's South Rim entrance.
Bedrock City Opening Hours
Fortunately for visitors, Bedrock City at Raptor Ranch is open every day seven days a week from 8 am until sunset - not that people needed any extra excuse to go!
How Much Does Entrance to Bedrock City Cost?
Finally, the ultimatum arrives - the burning question plaguing people's minds as they ponder just how much it might cost to re-live their favorite childhood cartoon in real life. For the whopping price of $8, entry to Bedrock City is less taxing on the wallet than a burger and fries at a major fast-food chain. And if that's too much, remember this: as previously mentioned, the one and only Bedrock City is free of charge for Raptor Ranch's campground guests. So, pack a bag, throw a tent in the RV, and hit the road to one of the USA's quirkiest, sentimental roadside attractions. Just don't forget about the Grand Canyon nearby - nor those eight bucks.