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Three Awesome Manmade Attractions of S. Oregon Coast: Dinos to Rapids

Published 04/27/21 at 5:35 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Three Awesome Manmade Attractions of S. Oregon Coast: Dinos to Rapids

(Gold Beach, Oregon) – From dinosaurs to running the rapids at high speeds, and then to a mellow walk full of striking tones: the fun on the south Oregon coast simply continues in intriguing ways. (Photo courtesy Jerry's Rogue Jets)

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There’s more to the beaches on the beach towns of this shoreline, to be sure. Here’s some new flavors to sprinkle on your next south coast trip.

[NOTE: Call ahead regarding any pandemic restrictions]

Jerry’s Rogue Jets, Gold Beach. A mere 45 minutes from the California border, Jerry’s Rogue Jets in Gold Beach has been a near-white-knuckled ride for decades. Instead of heading out to sea, Jerry’s fires you off inland at high speeds down the rapids-like waters of the Rogue River, past bulky rock structures and pristine river banks and through thick forests.

It all starts its season on May 1 and runs until October.

Along the way, stunning wildlife pop into view: where you get to practically interact with river otter, catch sight of the grand osprey taking flight and likely spot a bald eagle or two.


Courtesy photo: Jerry's Rogue Jets

Three different tour types are offered. The Historic Mail Boat Route zips you up river some 64 miles and back, letting you stop at Agness to grab some grub.

The Whitewater Excursion gets you into the wilds of the rapids and a more intense, thrilling experience. Similarly, the Wilderness Whitewater tour takes you 104 miles on an even crazier ride and more remote sections of the river, where wildlife outnumber the humans and soaring canyons will leave a lasting impression.

29985 Harbor Way, Gold Beach, Oregon. Jerry's Rogue Jets.


Photo courtesy Prehistoric Gardens

Prehistoric Gardens. In a primeval, true rain forest, Port Orford’s Prehistoric Gardens is not only the Oregon coast’s time-trippiest attraction but it’s also just about the oldest as well. Starting out in 1955, it’s held visitors enthralled by the presence of towering dinos decades before the Jurassic Park movie franchise.

Some 23 life-sized dinosaurs inhabit these thick, atmospheric greens, built with metal wire frames underneath and then carefully crafted according to paleontologists’ past reconstructions. They’re measured straight from dino bones found in other parts of the United States. You’ll get up-close encounters with the massive Pteranadon, a wee baby triceratops and of course the imposing and towering presence of the T. Rex.

One specimen at Prehistoric Gardens soars above you some 46 feet.

The whole thing is a self-guided tour, with plaques along the way describing each dinosaur. You can even re-take the tour as you wander through time in this lush, imagination-stirring place.

Dogs are not allowed in the pathways at Prehistoric Gardens. 1-541-332-4463. 36848 Highway 101 South. Port Orford, Oregon. prehistoricgardens.com.

Mingus Park, Coos Bay. A touch of the floral grandeur of British Columbia’s Butchart Gardens on the southern Oregon coast, Mingus Park is Coos Bay’s lovely-smelling little secret. (Photo courtesy City of Coos Bay)

A host of small explosions of colors in various spots along this soothing and serene set of pathways are just the beginning to the subtle thrills here. At the center lies the lake, inhabited by ducks and other engaging fowl, with its hypnotizing ripples, a little lighthouse set near the middle, and sometimes watery pyrotechnics performed by fountains or the tiny waterfall lurking in one area.

An Asian-inspired garden creates even more blowouts of color as you stroll beneath and a lush canopy, and there’s that inimitable red bridge that makes for yet more captivating atmosphere.

Fall presents a truly sensational face around here, as the trees join the flora and fauna in a vast celebration of shades.

There’s even a skateboard park, tennis court, a playground and more. Coos Bay, Oregon. (541) 267-1360. http://coosbay.org/departments/parks

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