Quirky, quirky! Galleta Meadows Estate

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There are some things you’d expect to find in the Southern California desert. Sand dunes or cacti, for example, would be common suspects, as would a tranquil palm tree oasis or a roadrunner making tracks across the desert floor. Other things, like dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers and sea serpents, might take you by surprise, though. But sculptures of these creatures and more call the desert town of Borrego Springs home at Galleta Meadows Estate, an outdoor art gallery filled with metal art installations.

The sky art gallery was the brainchild of Dennis Avery (of the same Avery family of adhesive label fame), who thought the flat lands and clear, bright skies of his three-square-mile property in Borrego Springs would be the perfect backdrop for an outdoor sculpture garden. He commissioned local artist Ricardo Brecera to weld a collection that would tell the desert’s history, from its prehistoric dwellers to Native Americans and farm workers.

Today, more than 120 metal sculptures sit in this area of the Southern California desert. Everything from elephants and raptors to gold miners and ancient tribal leaders dot the desert surrounding this small town. You don’t even have to stop by Galleta Meadows Estate proper to catch a glimpse of these metal creations — sky art installations line the roads both north and south of town, so you can spot camels, tortoises and sloths as you simply drive through town.

Avery wanted to release the gallery as public art, so the installations remain free for visitors to enjoy. This somewhat urban safari can be enjoyed from the road, though you may want to park alongside the streets to snap a few pictures and admire these incredible creations up close. Learn more about the gallery on the Galleta Meadows Estate website, and map out your visit with this handy illustration of Borrego Springs. While you plan your trip to the Southern California desert to experience this sky art collection in person, get a better idea of what awaits you with the photos below.

Quirky travel finds: Galleta Meadows Estates
A dragon weaves in and out of the sand at Galleta Meadows Estate (Image: Tim Buss)
Quirky travel finds: Galleta Meadows Estates
A menacing cricket sits on the sand (Image: Tim Buss)
Quirky travel finds: Galleta Meadows Estates
A screeching eagle clutches a rattlesnake in this installation (Image: Sam Howzit)
Quirky travel finds: Galleta Meadows Estates
Galleta Meadows Estate is home to this saber-toothed tiger (Image: Sam Howzit)
Quirky travel finds: Galleta Meadows Estates
A friendly-looking sloth sits in the middle of the Southern California desert (Image: Sam Howzit)
Quirky travel finds: Galleta Meadows Estates
A mammoth in the desert? Only at Galleta Meadows Estate (Image: Sam Howzit)
Quirky travel finds: Galleta Meadows Estates
A saber-toothed tiger lunges for a horse in this dramatic sculpture (Image: Sam Howzit)
Quirky travel finds: Galleta Meadows Estates
A camel kneels at Galleta Meadows Estate (Image: Sam Howzit)
Quirky travel finds: Galleta Meadows Estates
Dinosaurs can be found at this outdoor desert art gallery (Image: Neeta Lind)
Quirky travel finds: Galleta Meadows Estates
A raptor snarls at Galleta Meadows Estate (Image: Neeta Lind)
Quirky travel finds: Galleta Meadows Estates
This dinosaur looks like it’s right in its natural element in the heart of the Southern California desert (Image: Tim Buss)
Quirky travel finds: Galleta Meadows Estates
A bust of Quechan tribe leader Salvador Palma jets up from the desert floor (Image: Sam Howzit)
Quirky travel finds: Galleta Meadows Estates
A sculpture bears a cross and rosary at Galleta Meadows Estate (Image: Neeta Lind)
Quirky travel finds: Galleta Meadows Estates
A dragon stands watch over the desert at night (Image: Harry Pherson)
Quirky travel finds: Galleta Meadows Estates
A dinosaur looks as if it’s going to flee into the night at Galleta Meadows Estate (Image: cloudchaser32000)

(Main image: cloudchaser32000)

Quirky, quirky! Galleta Meadows Estate was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Marissa Willman
Author: Marissa Willman (786 posts)

Marissa Willman earned a bachelor's degree in journalism before downsizing her life into two suitcases for a teaching gig in South Korea. Seoul was her home base for two years of wanderlusting throughout six countries in Asia. In 2011, Marissa swapped teaching for travel writing and now calls Southern California home.