NOTE 3/1/19: We originally posted this article in the fall of 2017, right after our 2-week trip to the southwest U.S. It was our first visit to Bedrock City and, apparently, our last, as I recently read on Trip Advisor that the property had been sold was slated to close in early 2019:
Alas, it did close. But this post is chock full of photos so you can get a feel for the kitchym nostalgic goodness that it was.
If you’re of a certain age (or if you had the good taste to watch the right reruns or movies), you know that’s the catchphrase of Fred Flintstone, the main character of The Flintstones. The Hanna-Barbera production was the very first animated series to run in prime time, which it did on ABC from 1960 to 1966. The Flintstones remained relatively popular even after the show went off the air, so much so that in 1966, Linda and Joe Speckels, along with 4 others, got the licensing from Hanna-Barbera to make Bedrock City, a kitschy Flintstone-themed amusement park and campground, in Custer, South Dakota. The attraction was popular enough to spawn a secondary Bedrock City in Williams, Arizona, which opened in 1972.
The South Dakota Bedrock City remained open for just about 50 years, closing in 2015. The Arizona location has been for sale since 2015 but since there have been no buyers yet, the attraction remains open 364 days a year (it’s closed on Christmas Day), allowing people to see the open-air homage to Fred Flintstone, his wife, Wilma, Barney Rubble, his wife Betty, and the rest of Bedrock. As a lifelong Flintstones fan, and with a 3-day visit to the south rim of the Grand Canyon as part of our vacation to the American southwest (Bedrock City is only about 30 minutes away), there was no way I was NOT going to visit!
We stopped at Bedrock City on our way from Sedona to the Grand Canyon. Since the property is a campground combined with the amusement park, we entered the campground area first, where the gift shop, restaurant, convenience store, laundry and restaurant were, all with prehistoric theming.
You have to go into the gift shop to buy your entry ticket (just $5 per adult!) and then go through a turnstile to enter Bedrock City. And what a city it is!
There are about 10 buildings, including Fred’s house:
Bedrock City Jail:
and Bedrock’s School (I love the “bus”):
There’s even a prehistoric movie theater that shows episodes of The Flintstones!
You are free to go inside all the buildings, which have their own theming, as well:
The beauty salon:
The grocery store:
The doctor and dentist sides of the medical center:
The post office:
And the Flintstone & Rubble houses
The main characters (Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and Dino), as well as some unnamed prehistoric animals are all represented in larger than life…fiberglass?
There’s even a working slide in the shape of a Brontosaurus!
And then there was the piece de resistance: your $5 admission even included a “train ride” (it’s really a golf cart) through a volcano! We had to wait for the guy to come out from the kitchen to run the “train” but it was well worth the wait for all the cheesiness (you can see a lot of the property from the video, as well).
A lot of Bedrock City is admittedly in disrepair, with faded, chipped or just plain ol’ dirty paint, broken props, water stains in some buildings, graffiti, etc. – since the property is for sale ($2M, in case you’re interested) and the rights to the Hanna-Barbera characters won’t transfer to whoever buys it, I guess the owners don’t see a need to keep the place looking its best. So we’re glad we were able to go because it sounds as if it won’t be there anymore sometime in the future, once they get a buyer.
Despite not being in the best of condition, Bedrock City was still a fun place to spend an hour or so. The Flintstones were a part of my childhood, so it was enjoyable to see the familiar character and the town of Bedrock for the first time in, admittedly, decades. It was also the epitome of kitsch, so as far as I was concerned, there was no way to NOT love it.
Bedrock City can be found at 101 S. Hwy 180, in Williams, AZ. Go while you still can!
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