LOOK: A Visit to South Dakota’s Weirdest Tourist Attraction: Bedrock City
I caught an episode of the old Flintstones show on one of those old TV show channels recently. Watching it I realized that I couldn't tell if it was a good show. I have too much nostalgia wrapped up in the adventures of Fred and the gang.
Growing up in the 1980s watching The Flintstones was almost like breathing. You did it so much you forgot it was happening. There must have been upwards of six hours of stone-age family content broadcast every day.
For the kids out there, and the people whose parents were weird about TV, The Flintstones was an animated family sitcom set in the stone age. There were dinosaurs, everything was made of stone, and rock-based puns ruled the day.
The Flintstones influence over my youth was compounded by my family taking several trips to the Black Hills of South Dakota when I was a kid. Along with a dip in hot springs and taking blurry pictures of prairie dog towns, we always made a stop at Bedrock City near Custer.
If your childhood didn't include wandering through cement buildings and posing with giant statues of the Flintstone and Rubble families, you may not know what exactly Bedrock City was.
Bedrock City was a sort of theme-park tourist attraction. It was like Disneyland, but with Flintstone characters. There were buildings that looked like they were straight out of the cartoon. People in costumes were wandering the street of the city. You could see Mount Rockmore with its weird waterfall poll-thing, then watch a show at the Rockmore Theatre.
This place was second only to Casa Bonita in Denver on my list of favorite places in the world from ages six to twelve.
To top off the experience, every visit required getting a new bumper sticker to brag to the world that we went to Bedrock City in Custer S. Dak.
That sticker would join the Reptile Gardens one on every car my family had in the '80s.
Bedrock City in Custer opened in 1966 as another of the Black Hills tourist attractions. Along with the Flintstones stuff, there was a campground, swimming pool, and other vacation-ish stuff.
Originally the Bedrock City in Custer was the first of four built in North America. There was the South Dakota one, a Bedrock City near the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and two in British Columbia Canada.
Changing times and licensing issues with Warner Brothers, the owners of the Flinstones properties, led to the closing of the Canadian attractions in the '90s. The Arizona site closed in 2019.
The Custer Bedrock city closed in 2015 and the attraction was bulldozed in 2019.
Take a Walk Through Flintstones Bedrock City, Custer, South Dakota
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