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The Metal Beasts of Borrego | Bartell's Backroads

The story of why metal monsters roam the sands of one California desert.

BORREGO SPRINGS, Calif. — If you are looking for a landmark in the vastness of Anza-Borrego Desert, look no further than the giant rusty monsters that litter Borrego Springs. Dragons, scorpions, grasshoppers and even camels, these giant metal sculptures are all over the place, and around here they go by many names, according to Halina Avery. 

“When my dad put them up, he referred to them as Sky Art, others call them the Beasts of Borrego,” Avery said.

Avery is the president of the Under the Sun Foundation, the organization that cares for the sculptures, but it was her late father, Dennis Avery, who commissioned the statues to be built for one simple reason. 

“To do something interesting! He had the wherewithal to do it and wanted to give back,” Avery said.

Dennis Avery had the vision, but it was artist Ricardo Breceda who built the beasts. They were put up between 2008 and 2010, and in all, there’s about 130 metal statues. 

The sun beaten art is scattered all over Mr. Avery’s 1,600-acre property, which he called Galleta Meadows - a place now open to the public to drive around and view the sculptures for free.

If you come in March, you'll see the statues through a different lens at the Candlewood Arts Festival, a multi-day event where artist integrate their work alongside the metal beasts. 

“The town really embraced it, and it is a big part of the identity here,” says Avery.

Galleta Meadows is open year-round, and it's free. The only requirement is that you be respectful and don’t climb on the sculptures.

MORE BARTELL'S BACKROADS | How the Cabazon Dinosaurs ended up on I-10 in Southern California. Inside the iconic California roadside attraction featuring Jurassic creatures.

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