If you’re driving through Borrego Springs, chances are you’ll catch a glimpse of the wildlife that populates privately-owned Galleta Meadows Estates. If you’re in a hurry, you might think “hmmmm…interesting” and keep driving. I know that’s what I did a half-dozen times, en route to nearby Ocotillo Wells OHV area for a photo shoot. On the way home, curiosity demanded that I pull off the pavement and take a closer look. I’m glad I did.
At first blush, it looked as if the horses, mammoths, and giant birds might have been placed there to attract potential real estate buyers. After all, the signs say “Galleta Meadows Estates.” Reading the finer print reveals that the land is open to the public and that uses such as camping (limit three days) and off-road touring (there are beaten paths to follow) are permitted.
The sculptures are the creations of artist Ricardo Breceda and were commissioned by the owner of Galleta Meadows Estates, Dennis Avery. Each is made by starting with flat sheets of 26-gauge steel. To bring about the sculptures’ final form, the sheets are cut, shaped, and welded together. Inside each sculpture, there’s a structural skeleton on which the outer skin hangs. The sculptures are created in Breceda’s Perris, California workshop and set into concrete on site at Galleta Meadows. Breceda also has a second workshop in Rosarito Beach, Baja California.
Many of the sculptures are life-sized, but there are couple of birds that are truly gigantic. Witness the fullsize Dodge pickup in front of one of them. Scale notwithstanding, the whole collection is a surreal trip back in time. Not all of the sculptures represent creatures whose fossils have been found in the Anza-Borrego area, but they’re still an instantaneous trip to the distant past. For this reason, they’re all larger-than-life wildlife.