Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Visitor's View: Metal sculptures

Enjoying the wonders of Borrego Springs when it's too hot to hike


Last updated 11/9/2023 at 12:39pm

It's that time of the year when temperatures have been well into the triple digits, but that's no reason to stay away from some of the interesting and unique things Borrego Springs has to offer.

One of those attractions is a fascinating collection totaling more than 130 giant metal sculptures ranging from whimsical to prehistoric depicting creatures that wandered here millions of years ago.

While a nature hike into a remote palm oasis or interesting desert overlook might not be the best choice right now, visitors here can enjoy the metal sculptures in the air-conditioned comfort of their own vehicle.

Scattered about Borrego Valley the sculptures were a gift to the community from the late Dennis Avery who wanted to create a free-standing art gallery.

Avery commissioned the works from metal artist Ricardo Breceda and in 2008 the statues began appearing on parcels of land owned by Avery known as Galleta Meadows.

The initial sculptures created by Breceda were replicas of long-extinct animals that are part of rich fossil fields in surrounding Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Life sized sculptures of extinct camels, a sabertooth cat, elephant-like gomphotheres, wild horses and giant tortoises were included.

As the collection grew, Breceda expanded his works to cover historic events and even wild fantasy that includes a massive serpent-like creature that seems to snake trough desert sands, even under a road and continuing to the other side.

The metal sculptures of Borrego Springs have become a huge draw for tourists and a detailed map of their locations at the Anza-Borrego Natural History Association office, 652 Palm Canyon Drive.

Thousands of images have been taken with people posing in front of the huge pieces. At night, photographers silhouette the sculptures against a dazzling Milky Way, evening using colored light to paint the scent, adding to the surreal scene.

This time of the year, a good time to visit the sculptures is late in the day when temperatures begin to cool and long shadows create more drama.

Of course, if you hang out until dark, there's always Borrego's famous dark skies that offer spectacular views of the summer Milky Way. It's not something you will see from cities where urban glows wash out all but the brightest stars.

Being close to town, also means when you have enjoyed the tour you can slip into one of the local restaurants for a nice dinner before heading home.

The warm days of summer are a special time in Borrego Springs. Crowds don't exist, lodging is generally available, and it's a perfect time to enjoy the relaxed pace of this unique desert community.

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