Flintstones’ Bedrock City: A Land Before Time

Earlier this summer we took a road trip of the southwest. It was more of a move than vacation, but we were able to hit up some of the local attractions along the way. When I found out about this gem on Roadside America, I knew we had to stop and experience:

Fred Flintstones’ Bedrock City

Why go see a grand canyon when you can see how cartoons lived

Once popular when motorist wore suits and new episodes of the Flintstones actually aired, this roadside attraction and campground is now a sad monument to yesteryear. Located an hour south of The Grand Canyon in Williams, AZ, Fred Flintstones’ Bedrock City feels like the setting of a Scooby Doo mystery. A rundown amusement park, creepy attendants; all it was it missing was Phillis Diller and van of teens. (Yes, there’s gonna be a lot of Hanna Barbera jokes in this blog)

We pulled up to an oversized parking lot with maybe six cars. The other cars had presumably only stopped to ask for directions because there’s no satellite reception. It was hard to imagine that, even when it opened in 1972 this parking lot was ever full. There were two complexes: a campground and a full-scale replica of Bedrock City. To gain entrance into the camp ground you have to go through the Water-Buffalo Lodge,and to get to the city, you had to go through the gift shop. We squelched our fear of stumbling upon a meth lab, and headed in.

The main building housed not only the gift shop, but also Fred’s Diner (I didn’t get the Brontosaurs burger cause I had to drive five more hours that day and did not want to chance it), and entrance to Bedrock City. The downside was that there was no prehistoric bird as the cash register, just a human named Janice. Unlike previously known methods of traveling to the prehistoric era (a Jeep falling into a portal, ala Land of the Lost, or Elroy’s Time Machine) there was just a turnstile.

The map was more detailed than the actual buildings
The map was more detailed than the actual buildings

For only five modern-day dollars you get transported to the 1960’s take on cavemen.

Imagine walking through the Flintstone’s hometown after Dante’s Peak exploded or an atomic bomb was tested only a few miles away. All that stood were abandoned buildings, petrified life-sized cartoons, and audio from Flintstone cartoons running on loop at the nearby amphitheater that creates a chill down one’s spine. Pretty sure this is my version of Purgatory.

Look at the map above there is a grey area marked “future development” for rides and fun stuff. I’ve never been in someone’s failed dream before.

Now I am being harsh on the fact this place was a dump. I was disappointed by the fact that there were no talking animals (live or animatronic), no real bowling alley, nor any upgrades that incorporated the 1994 movie. But, we didn’t leave immediately because at heart, I’m still a kid. The Flintstones was a staple in my house. How many of you were Flintstone’s kids? The franchise is iconic. So once we looked passed the poor upkeep, we had a great time living as Fred and William did before us: Making rock puns, watching for snakes, and trying to stay out of the heat with limited internet access.

Check out the photo gallery and hilarious captions!

So is it worth visiting Bedrock City?

On its own, no. Go check out that giant hole in the ground and then stop by this roadside novelty before it closes for good. I was told by one of the employees that they were shutting her down. Book your flight today before this gem goes the way of the dinosaurs or a cartoon show: cancelation.