Grand Canyon Caverns to Adopt Cheesy Dinosaur Statue Booted Out of Historic Neighborhood in Orange County

A $12,000 dinosaur statue installed at an Orange County petting zoo last year is moving to Arizona after being evicted by snooty residents of a historic mission neighborhood.

Our state has long been a friend to cheesy dinosaur statues, from Holbrook to the Flintstones Bedrock City in Valle. Now we'll have one more, thanks to Californian history purists who don't want the thing.

Plans are being finalized, according to news reports today, to transport the 13-foot-tall, unwanted California apatasaurus replica to the Grand Canyon Caverns in northwest Arizona.

The 800-acre cavern park, which used to be called "Dinosaur City," already has a couple of less-than-amazing, though charming, statues of T-Rexes near its museum, so the unloved California dinosaur should feel more at ease.

Complaints began pouring in last year after Carolyn Franks, owner of the Zoomars Petting Zoo, had the dinosaur installed as a way to draw in crowds and excite kids.

Members of the Capistrano Historical Alliance Committee were among those who complained to the San Juan Capistrano City Council, which voted last week to kick the dinosaur out of the mission neighborhood. The structure must be removed by May 3.

Not everyone hated "Juan," as the statue was called. San Clemente resident Jason Pearson, whose children love the dinosaur, designed T-shirts for an unsuccessful "Save the Apatosaurus" movement.

Franks told California news media today that she'd decided to donate and transport the replica to the Grand Canyon Caverns at no cost.

San Juan Capistrano's loss is, well, the gain of whoever drives out to the middle-of-nowhere, where the Grand Canyon Caverns is located.

Bring us your tired, your huddles masses of low-quality dinosaur statutes -- somewhere in the Arizona desert, we'll find room for them.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.