I keep in my memory many memories of my trip to the West Coast: each has its value and I would hardly trade one for the other. I remember my restless mood in front of the Bryce show; the fascination suffered in front of the subtleties of Antelope Canyon, with its walls modeled by a Gaudi nature; the wild call of nature of Monument Valley; the perception of our human insignificance in front of the Grand Canyon masterpiece… and much more. Still, a special place in my memory is occupied by Bedrock, the city of Flintstones in Arizona.
Warning Unfortunately, after 50 years of activity, since the beginning of 2019 the previous management of Bedrock has closed. The Flintstones theme park has been replaced by the Raptor Ranch, a habitat park for birds of prey open to tourists. Fortunately, the new management has decided to keep the park alive, which is therefore still open to visitors!
Bedrock Arizona: a dip into the imagination after the Grand Canyon
First I give you all the details on how to reach Bedrock in Arizona and what to expect, I'll tell you my experience. I was in the middle of my fly and drive in California and had just come out of a beautiful day at the Grand Canyon. In the afternoon, we were driving along the AZ-64 in the direction Williams, the famous town on Route 66 in Arizona where we would then sleep: the journey was pleasant and restful but we still had to dispose of the thrill of having seen the chasm of the Grand Canyon. The long, flat and somewhat monotonous road that separated us from the motel offered nothing particularly attractive until, in the locality Valle, a huge sign struck our attention: it was depicted there Fred Flintstone and the iconic “Yabba-Dabba-Doo. Welcome ". We could not resist: we went back to understand a bit of what it was.
Beyond another sign that read "Bedrock City - Flintstones" there was a large parking lot with a series of buildings that actually had something of a prehistoric feel to it. We parked, more and more curious: when we arrived at the entrance we saw the writing Prehistoric Park – Campground and Restaurant. All these clues were a test: without in the least expecting it, we had found the Flintstones theme park complete with a complete reconstruction of Bedrock. We didn't believe our eyes!
How to reach Bedrock
But let's get out of the vague memory and, before going into the heart of prehistory, let's see how to get a Bedrock in Arizona.
- From the north: the only way to reach Bedrock coming from northern Arizona or Utah and, in fact, to go through Grand Canyon. The distance between Bedrock Valley entrance and Grand Canyon Village is approximately 29 miles. Follow the AZ-64 past Tusayan and the airport. You will find Valle and then Bedrock on the right.
- From the south: There are two ways to reach Bedrock from the south.
- Get married yes Williams you will have to take the same AZ-64 practically passing under Route 66 Arizona: 30 miles separate you from Valle. Basically Valle is exactly Valle is located halfway between Williams and the Grand Canyon.
- If you are in Flagstaff, you do not necessarily have to reach Williams and take the AZ-64: there is another road that leads directly to the Valley, the US-180 E. You will understand that you are almost there when you see the splendid Double Eagle Trading Company, a beautiful western style shop that is absolutely worth a visit. After a few hundred meters you will rejoin the AZ-64. At the crossroads turn right and you will find Bedrock on the left.
Bedrock Arizona: What to Expect?
Since there is new management, the admission price is $ 8 each (free for campers). The park, at least when we went during the previous management, was totally deserted: we really were unique visitors! On the one hand, this disturbed us a little, but on the other it was a reason for exaggerated enthusiasm and joy! We were able to wander around the dusty streets di Bedrock City in total solitude, fully enjoying an unusual, eclectic prehistoric atmosphere and touching the childhood memory of the homes of Ancestors, with all their rudimentary furnishings and faithfully reproduced settings.
You should not expect from your visit to Bedrock an experience similar to those you will do in the most famous Los Angeles theme parks, typical of the West Coast tour, Disneyland and Universal Studios: the reconstructions of the houses (actually very faithful) and of the environments of the Flintstones cities are basically the only attraction there. The fact remains, I repeat, that if one is particularly attached to the old cardboard of Hanna & Barbera this is a place to visit especially for take pictures, in the kitsch spirit of nearby Route 66 in Arizona. I point out the official site, equally prehistoric!
Here's what you'll find in Bedrock City:
- Train Ride: a circular ride on a "prehistoric" train. You have to hope that the driver is in the area, who in all respects seems to be the handyman of the park.
- Fred’s House: Fred and Wilma's house, with the reconstruction of the rooms. It seems to hear Fred's voice echoing in the air: "Wilma, give me the club!"
- School: the school where Bam Bam and Ciottolina studied history (what history, if you think about it) and other prehistoric subjects
- Courthouse and Jail: the courthouse and the rudimentary Bedrock prison
- Bedrock Flintstones Theater: thematic shows are probably held here (or were held ...), but at the time of our visit it was closed for maintenance
- Fred’s Diner: a diner-restaurant that offers typical American dishes on the menu proposed in a prehistoric sauce ...
- Various full-scale reproductions of Wilma, Fred, Barney, Betty, Dino and company of dinosaurs and various prehistoric men
Where to sleep? Flintstones Park Camping and other solutions
As we said, the Grand Canyon is half an hour from Bedrock, so you could sleep in the Grand Canyon or in the immediate surrounding cities: Williams, Flagstaff or Tusayan.
There is, however, another option: sleep in Camping Flintstones Park of Bedrock City (today Raptor Ranch Campground). At an affordable price you can camp in an area equipped with a camper or tent: this solution, if you are a camping type, is the perfect way to save while sleeping a stone's throw from the Grand Canyon.