Everything ya need to know about explorin’ the Sky Art sculptures.
With 130 metal masterpieces in the middle of the wide-open desert, the Sky Art sculpture garden just might be the wildest art gallery ya ever did see. But with no air conditioning and temperatures that can ride up into the triple digits, it’s not the kinda gallery you just wander around either. In this right here article, you’ll find a lick of history and all sorts of advice for what to wear, when to go and how to find your way around the Sky Art Sculpture Garden.
How’d These Metal Mammoths Get Here Anyway?
The long and short of it is that in the not-so-distance past, a local landowner named Dennis Avery had a whole lot of undeveloped desert land and one heck of a passion for art. And when Avery happened to meet a sculptor named Riccardo Breceda, whose style was equal parts fantastical and approachable, a real productive partnership was formed. Avery commissioned Breceda to create all kinds of free-standing, high-falutin’ metal sculptures—from a field full of farm workers to a 300-foot-long, split-tongued serpent. And when Avery passed, his kin created a foundation to maintain the sculpture garden and help keep it admission-free for the next generation of art-lovin’ buckeroos to enjoy too.
What to Wear & When to Go
Days can get pretty dang hot out in the open desert, while nighttime can get pretty darn chilly. So we recommend ridin’ through the sculpture garden in a vehicle that can handle dirt roads, wearing cool, airy clothing and keeping lots of layers handy. There’s almost no shade in the garden, so it’s mighty important that you wear sunscreen and pack plenty of water too. And, of course, you’re gonna want to keep your camera at the ready, because there are scads of great shots to be had out there.
Weekends can be dreadful busy—especially during the superbloom—so we recommend high tailin’ it to garden early or waitin’ for a weekday if ya can. It’s also important to remember that even though you won’t find any ropes or guardrails to stop ya, it’s never a good idea to touch or climb on any of the sculptures. Metal gets mighty hot in the midday sun. And while some of the sculptures look like they could take down a small house, they really weren’t built to hold up the weight of a person at all.
Which Way’s the Entrance?
No museum means there’s no one place you’ve got to start. You can see these here sculptures in any order that you’d like. But, if ya ask us, the best way to find your way around the garden is to get an early start at the corner of Borrego Springs Road and Big Horn Road. There you’ll find sloths, giant tortoises and a mighty big scorpion and grasshopper poised for a fight. From there, head north on Borrego Springs Road to see the iconic 300-foot-long serpent and some charming furry llamas. Then keep heading north to see the gold miner and saguaro, the big horn sheep and the African elephants.
After that, we recommend headin’ to Christmas Circle. If you’re ready for a break, you can make a quick detour to Big Horn Fudge Company on Palm Canyon Drive for a cup of coffee and a decadent treat. And once you’re in the Christmas Circle, you’ll find the velociraptor sculpture on the north side of it. Then, continue south on Borrego Springs Road until you hit Anzio Drive. There, a dirt road will guide you in a loop past the spinosaurus, the allosaurus and the t-rex. Finally, you can wrap up your tour by headin’ back up to Borrego Springs Drive to see the desert eagle, the mammoth and the wild horses.
Cell phone service can be real hard to come by out in sculpture garden, so it’s mighty smart to download a good map—like this one right here—before you go.
Between the thousands of acres of wide-open desert land and the hundreds of whimsical works of art that dot it, the Sky Art sculpture garden is ‘bout as far as you can get from a run-of-the-mill art gallery. But with a little planning and lots of bottles of water, it’s all but bound to become one of your all-fired favorites.
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